Monday, December 26, 2016

White Christmas

 Downtown Patos de Minas from a distance

Batismo do Butina! (do Edson):

It's finally time to open it!
Christmas joy (w/o flash kk) 
 Christmas joy (with flash)
 Batismo do Helio!
 Merry Christmas from Zona Patos de Minas!
 Feliz Natal!
 Animados pra caramba!
 Irmão Edinho tá cansado kk
Christmas lunch, Almoço de Natal

This was a special Christmas! I think a white Christmas by snow here in Patos de Minas is nearly impossible, but this year we had a white Christmas by baptism! Edson, who’s more commonly known by his nick-name, Butina (Boo-CHEE-na, kind of weird in English, I know kk), was baptized on Christmas Eve—na vespera de Natal! His best friend Gabriel got baptized about two months ago, and although he initially had no desire to visit the church, he eventually came to the sound conclusion that it was the right thing for him. I think he looks like a Brazilian version of Dallin haha.

The next day, Christmas Day, the sisters of our branch also had a baptism, a great man called Helio. It was a neat experience to witness people entering into a covenant with the Lord during the commemoration of the Savior’s birth!

Even though it was Christmas week and lots of people were traveling, we worked hard to find and teach people. It was nice being able to relax and Christmas Day knowing that we had worked hard all week.

Christmas Eve we had an amazing little dinner with Irma Ivanilda, a sweet old lady who loves us missionaries. She served us so well to help us feel like we were at home, and I admired her example of charity.

Certainly the best part of the week was……SKYPE!!!!! It was incredible being able to talk to you guys—Dallin in Portugal (speaking some Portuguese with him was so fun!) and Dad, Mom, Tyler, Heidi, Natalie, Katie, and Bryce at home. I love and miss you all so much! I hope Mother’s Day comes quick so we can Skype again J.

I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas! I miss spending the Christmas season in the US with the family, but I sure am glad I’m here.

Feliz Natal para todos e Feliz Ano Novo!

Elder Anderson 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Feliz Natal! And the True Church

 Elder Martins!
 Today's going to be a great day!
 Altura dos Elderes! (Height of the Elders) I'm not the shortest to have served in Guanabara! Brasil is actually pretty great because I don't feel as short as I did in the US, hahaha!
 Elder Banz!
 Elder Stafford!
 Presidente Bührer!
Always representing Central

I bought a whole kilo of Raisins this week!!! It was 15 reais which is about 4 dollars. I bought them on Monday and finished the last ones of Friday. It didn’t even last me five days! I like raisins and can eat muitas. Coisa boa.

Gessiley was confirmed today! (I’m writing this part on Sunday night). She’s great and already participating as if she were a lifelong member. We had a lesson with her today, and she asked about the organization of the church from President Thomas S. Monson to the bottom. We explained it all from the First Presidency and Apostles until Bishops and branch presidents. It was the first time I’ve ever completely explained the church’s hierarchal organization in my life, I think. It was cool.

I am so grateful to belong to the true church of Jesus Christ. There are few thoughts more comforting than this. I know that God’s true church was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet, that there are 12 living apostles, and that Jesus Christ leads His Church through this, the organizations that He established and reestablished. My testimony of the restoration of the gospel grows every day. I’m grateful not only for being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but also for representing the Lord’s church every day. It’s a marvelous experience.

A lot of people here say “a church’s name doesn’t save anyone.” That’s true, but they say it to mean “no single church is necessary to reach salvation.” That’s wrong. As an explanation: Jesus said in John 3:5 that no one can enter the kingdom of heaven without being baptized. Ephesians 4:5 declares there is only one baptism, the correct one as clarified in Lucas 12:50 (people often quote Ephesians to say you can only be baptized once, independent of the manner of baptism. Clearly that’s not true. This ‘one’ baptism means one correct manner and not one time only. This is clear in Luke (I’m sorry, I wrote Lucas the first time, that’s what it is in Portuguese haha) 12:50. Also, if one were baptized by not by the true baptism, how would he be prohibited from being baptized once more with the correct baptism?). What is the correct baptism? Mark 10:38—the same baptism with which Jesus was baptized. He is the perfect example in all things! His baptism included the following essential elements: Immersion, age of accountability, and authority from God, which John the Baptist held. In anywhere in the world you can find sufficient water to immerse someone (well, maybe not in the Sahara and maybe not in Georgia during the last few months of drought!) and people with an age of personal accountability (being 8 years old, as revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith). Authority of God, the Holy Priesthood, does not find itself so easily, however. It is passed from someone who holds it to another through the laying on of hands, as we see in Acts 6 and 13. Jesus gave this authority to his 12 apostles. When the Savior and His apostles were killed, the Priesthood was lost and the line of authority abruptly halted. The organization of prophet and apostles (Ephesians 2:19-20) was lost. If apostolic authority were passed to others and had continued for many years after the death of the original apostles, the Bible would have continued. When Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph Smith in 1829, they restored the Priesthood through the laying on of hands. Today this authority is passed to worthy men of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Therefore it is only this church that has the authority required to perform the true baptism and thus enable people to enter the kingdom of God.

Note: After writing this I gave a look in the English KJV and realized that Luke 12:50 has a meaning in English different than that in Portuguese. In the Portuguese Joao Ferreria de Almeida version Lucas 12:50 reads “It is important that one be baptized with one correct (also: right, certain) baptism…” I refer to this interpretation in the previous paragraph.

Isn’t it a blessing that we have the Book of Mormon and modern day revelation to clarity the confusion which resulted after centuries of worldwide apostasy?

This week was awesome! We had a great Christmas activity in Uberlandia with the missionaries from there, Uberaba, and Patos. It was fun to relax, see friends, play ping-pong, talk to President and Sister Buhrer, and commemorate the Savior’s birth.

I CAN’T WAIT FOR SKYPE ON CHRISTMAS!!! It’ll be great. Feliz Natal! J

Elder Anderson 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Um Batismo e Uma Conferencia

 Mmmmmm the food from the district's Christmas activity was incredible
 Cleaning the font—my favorite thing to do on Saturday morning!
I didn't take a lot pf pictures this week, sorry haha.

I just want to write in Portuguese! BUT that might not help you guys out very much. I’ll try to write my best English this week. Try.

Gessiley was baptized this week!!! I’ll go ahead and explain: her name is pronounced kind of like “Jesslay” with the emphasis on the first syllable. She is one of the best converts of my mission! Right after she was baptized we asked her to give a short testimony as part of the baptismal meeting. Whoa! It seemed like she had been a member for a year or two already. She said her life didn’t have much meaning and she had a lot of doubts, but as she learned about the restoration of the gospel, everything made sense to her. She’ll be a strong member and has the desire to serve a mission too! It was a blessing for E. Gomez and I to be able to teach her.

The sister missionaries of our branch, Guanabara, were robbed near the church the other day. I was pretty surprised because Patos de Minas is one of the safer cities in the mission. Even though we missionaries are assaulted sometimes, I’m sure the Lord is protecting us. We walk in the road all day, every day until 9-9:30 p.m. and certainly if we weren’t servants of the Lord, a lot more armed motorcyclists would harass us. I pray for protection every day and know that my prayers are heard and answered.

I read the book of Enos this morning in my personal study. I really like his example of fercent prayer and faith. I’m trying to pray with more faith and heart just as he did.

This Sunday I experienced one of the best church meetings I’ve ever seen. All stakes and districts (Patos de Minas is a district) in Brazil held a conference. The first part was a talk by the stake or district president and the rest was a transmission from Salt Lake. Richard Maynes’ talk was translated to Portuguese, the second counselor in the Primary Presidency spoke in Portuguese with a full American accent, a seventy from Argentina spoke with a thicker Hispanic accent, Presidente Costa of the Brazil Area then spoke (in normal Brazilian Portuguese), and then Elder Holland gave a great and humorous talk and spoke a little bit of Portuguese at the beginning and end of it. It was awesome! Not only were the messages excellent, but the mixture of accents and cultures added significantly to the awesomeness of the meeting. I never have seen a meeting like it.  The Church is really becoming expert in use of technology and creativity.

The two things I most remember that were said are: 1- The law of the harvest- “You reap what you sow/ If you want strawberries, you have to plant strawberries” (from Sister Bonnie Cordone (?) of the Primary) and 2 – A quotation for Brigham Young that Elder Holland shared “I don’t worry about anything, only if I am well before God” I loved that. A lot of stress in this life can be avoided if we only worry about what is the only thing that eternally matters: how we are before Heavenly Father.

I love the gospel, I love being a missionary, and I love this church. Thank you all for your loving support and prayers!

Elder Anderson

Monday, December 5, 2016

Pao de Queijo

  Pão de Queijo!!!
 Pão de Queijo with chicken mmmmm
 I'm missing the Lago das Rosas, but I found this lake
 No lago com Elder Gómez
 Pure tuna mmmm
 Some good shots in the 'mato'
Patos de Minas is in the state of Minas Gerais which is famous for its cheese and especially ‘pao de queijo’ –cheesebread. I usually don’t like cheese, but I love pao de queijo and am serving in the region of the best pao de queijo in the world. It’s BOM DEMIAS DA CONTA!!! I bought and ate some at least 4 times this week hehe.

Missionary work is tough, but as I’ve said several times, nothing I’ve ever done has brought me such great joy. To me, there’s nothing better than knowing I am doing the Lord’s will. It’s otimo!

We’re currently teaching one of the best investigators I’ve taught in my mission Gessiley (yep, her name is kind of difficult haha) understands everything that we teach, already reads the Book of Mormon every day, and not only has the desire to follow the truth but to share it with others as well. I believe she’ll serve a mission in the future! She lives with her mom and a younger sister and brother who are also visiting, learning about, and enjoying the church. Their family was referred to us by one of their neighbors who is a member. We’re preparing Gessiley to be baptized this Saturday! I hope to be sending several baptismal photos to you all next week.

Almost everyone here tells us that we can visit them to share a message another day, but they rarely fulfill their appointment. It’s annoying to get to a house where we are excited to teach and find no one there. If missionary work were easy, I wouldn’t learn and grow like I am, so I’m grateful for the challenges. We’re teaching another good family that lives close to Gessiley (the very north-west end of the city, it’s a long walk haha). The dad, Jose Roberto, went to church yesterday and like tit.

Two simple things happened this week that made Heavenly Father’s love quite clear to me. First, one night I was walking in the road, and I heard something fall out of a nearby three. I looked over and saw a ripe mango rolling across the road to me. I picked it up and started eating. I felt like God was saying “Have a mango, Scott!” I was happy and grateful. Also, yesterday night we were really far from our house and would have to walk fast for 30 minutes to get home in time. A car stopped next to us on the road and offered us a ride. It was a helpful member from another branch here in Patos. He gave us a ride directly to our house, saving us time and a lot of energy. What a marvelous blessing!

We’re fasting as a mission today for excitement and love for the work. I know that fasting is a principle of power and trust that we will all be blessed here in the Brasil Goiania Mission. In an hour or less I’ll break my fast, probably with some pao de queijo. Amo voces!

Elder Anderson

Monday, November 28, 2016

"Back to Faculty"

 Cakes = Bolos (x2)

 We helped Zé Elho push his car hahaha
 A galera!
 Eating with gloves makes this a lot cleaner
 Tchau, Lago das Rosas
 Essa comida foi boa
 Spines/thorns/spiky things on the inside
 Tchau E. Murry, boa sorte!
 The view from our house in Patos (x2)
Elder Gómez!
 Zona Staff!
 Tchau para vocês!
I'll miss this view

I packed my bags, got on a bus, and said goodbye to Goiania on Thursday. Now I’m in Patos de Minas, a city in Minas Gerais that’s on the eastern edge of the mission. IT’S AWESOME HERE!!!

I consider this past week one of the big transitions of my mission, finishing my 7 months in the office and returning to the field for my last 7 months. I’ve passed the 2/3 mark. Que doido.

My last of many, many Sundays in the Goiania ward was memorable. We brought a good family to church (they ran late and as a result, E. Murry almost missed his talk hahaha) and later we were invited by a member to a family home evening to which she had invited a non-member friend. It turned out being a surprise going-away get together for me. President Buhrer had told all the missionaries not to do farewell activities like that when we were transferred, but it was a surprise which I knew nothing about! Haha, I loved my time in Goiania and loved the members. I’m honored that they were grateful for my service and so thoughtful to put together a little farewell celebration.

My last few days in Goiania were kind of weird. Elder Murry assumed full responsibility of the finances (he’s already doing great!), and I just had to wait a few days for the leadership meeting and the trip to Patos de Minas. I helped out in the office, worked a little in the field, and thought a lot about how I could effectively lead the zone here.

Leading a zone is a lot of work! At night we get home and finish our daily planning and before we can get ready for bed, we have to call the district leaders and evaluate the day’s work. I’m still getting used it haha. I’m really grateful that I was transferred here. It’s the beginning of my fourth day and I’m loving it, for several reasons:

The area – Patos de Minas is a city of about 125,000. There’s a district of the church here with 3 branches: Guanabara (our branch), California, and Patos Centro. The average branch size is 40-50 members. The city reminds me of Araxa. (ARAXA!! I miss that place.) There’s a ton of hills (on some I think we do more climbing than walking) and a lot of green/forest/mato areas. There are a lot of farms nearby, and the other day we saw 10 cows crossing the road.

The zone – There’s two companionships per branch here – 12 missionaries in all. All of them are great. One of the district leaders is E. Baltazar! It’s been almost a year now since I trained him and he has become a great missionary.

The members – They’re awesome! They all love the missionaries. The group of youth here is really strong. We’ll be teaming up with young men a lot.

My companion – Elder Gomez! He’s from Guatamala, is in his last transfer, and has one transfer’s worth of experience as a zone leader here so he’s been helping me get to know people, places and things. He’s easy-going, hard-working, and teaches well. It’s been a good few days with him so far. I was really hoping for a Hispanic companion so I could practice Spanish. I’m already getting way better.

The field – I knew it would be nice to get back to the field, but it’s even better than I imagined! I was in the office so long I had forgotten what it was like. I love dedicating all my time and effort to FINDING, TEACHING, and BAPTIZING! I joke to myself that, like Dad did a few years ago, I’m leaving administration and going back to faculty kkkkk.

My testimony of the Priesthood power was greatly strengthened this week. We ate lunch at the house of Irma Nara on Saturday. Due to past experiences she has a deep fear of driving on the Estrada (freeway). She asked for a blessing because that night she needed to drive to another city. I, with E. Gomez, gave it.

Yesterday she came up to us at church and said she was able to drive completely calmly and felt that our blessing helped her immensely. I’m grateful to have been an instrument in the Lord’s hands to help one of His children.

This week was awesome! I’m loving my mission and am so excited to keep working hard here in Patos!

Elder Anderson