Monday, January 30, 2017

Defending The Book of Mormon

I didn’t think I was fat—When I weighed myself last week I was only 64 kilograms—but during a lesson this week the plastic chair I was sitting on broke. Haha!

Thursday I went on an exchange with Elder Ward in his area, called California. After approving the apartment they wanted to rent, we had a good afternoon of work, including marking two baptismal dates on the first door we knocked. Elder Ward has a neat teaching style and it was fun teaching with him. We talked with a guy on the road who said he was caught up in crime and drugs and wanted to change his life and he went to church with the California elders, yesterday. Bom!

That night we started talking to a family through their garage (fence), and at first they didn’t want to talk to us because we were from a “different church.” We started to briefly explain the Restoration, and their 10 year old kid persuaded his parents to let us in. We taught about Christ’s church, the Apostasy, the Prophet Joseph Smith, and when we began to teach the Book of Mormon, their spiritual ignorance peaked. “God only gave us the Bible!” “The Bible is the Word, it’s all in the Word, there’s nothing outside of the Word.” “Why is there another book? We already have THE WORD!”

We patiently (and it did require a lot of patience) began to explain exactly why Heavenly Father would reveal another book of Holy Scripture:
-To make known the communication of God with His children in the Americas
-To uncover the story of a lost part of the House of Israel (Matthew 15:24)
-To tell the story of Jesus’ ministry among His “other sheep” (John 10:16) in the Americas
-To teach the doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31)
-To prove that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God
-To prove that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Christ and the kingdom of God upon the Earth
-To restore to the original, true form much of Christ’s gospel that had been distorted, corrupted, or lost after many centuries of apostasy
-To unite the stick of Joseph to the stick of Judah (Ezekiel 37:15-17)
-To serve as a testament that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world (2 Nephi 9, 2 Nephi 25, Mosiah 3, Mosiah 16, Alma 5, Alma 7, Alma 42, Helaman 5, 3 Nephi 11-18, 3 Nephi 27, Mormon 9, Ether 12, Moroni 7, Moroni 10…etc. etc.)

The group of family members and friends that had assembled to hear our message didn’t accept anything we said (though one woman did accept a Book of Mormon), but I know we did our part. The reason I know the Book of Mormon is true is not because I read and prayed about it. If I ever received an answer to a prayer about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, it was always a small thought: “You already know.” My undeniable testimony of the Book of Mormon I gained on my mission in the moments when I have to testify with all my soul that it is true in order to defend the truth to an ignorant and mocking opposition. This night was probably the most powerful of these experiences. I felt a true Godly power flow through me as I testified without fear to that group of spiritually blind men and women that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know I spoke with the power of the Holy Ghost because with my own forces I could never have spoken like I did. I looked at all of them and said “Why are you complaining about and rejecting more of God’s word instead of gratefully and faithfully receiving it? It is because you do not love God enough!”

I know that I was strengthened by the power of the Lord as I firmly defended the Book of Mormon. I know it is true. I know it came from God. I know Heavenly Father believes in the Book of Mormon just as He does in the Bible as His own Word. I don’t have any doubt.

I left that tumultuous lesson peacefully, with the certainty in my heart that I represented the Lord well.

I almost forgot to write about the incredible worldwide missionary broadcast that we had this week. The setting of the two hour meeting was a meeting of the leaders of the missionary department, including Elder Oaks, Bednar, and Andersen. I remember that E. Bednar started the meeting with a powerful prayer. I felt a great spirit of unity and power knowing that all the missionaries in the world were praying together in that exact moment. After a ton of inspiration and advice from the apostles and other board members, the big news was released: significant changes to the missionary daily schedule, P-Days and key-indicators of work. This week E. Brandão and I will go to a leadership meeting and hear how Pres. Bührer will adapt all of these novidades to our mission.

The greatest testimony I've gained on my mission is that of the Book of Mormon. I've had plenty of experiences having to really defend it, for which I'm grateful.

I’m really enjoying serving here in Patos de Minas. This month the zone didn’t have many baptisms (just 1) but we’ll have 3 this first week of February! I’m 90% sure I’ll stay here another transfer because E. Brandao is finishing his mission, and I’m excited to continue the work. We visited the Presbyterian Church this week, after an investigator invited us. It was a cool experience. I’m really grateful to belong to a church with a clear doctrinal foundation and divinely defined purpose. There’s a big difference! Amo Voces! Tenham uma otima semana!

Elder Anderson

 I. got. really. burned. last. P-Day.

  Kodiak Cakes again!
 American pancakes are a blessing.
 Água Tônica. I like it but no one else does kkkkkk
My breakfast today: fried egg sandwiches!
 I read about the venomous snakes in the book of Ether today and produced some margin art.
 O Livro de Mórmon veio de Deus!
We play darts at home
Finally got a 10!

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Real MVP

This week Sister Wilson (in the Patos branch) taught some English to her companion, Sister Scollo, from Argentina. During a phone call with me, S. Scollo practiced one of her newly learned phrases: “You’re the real MVP!” Hahahaha, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard that! It brought back pre-mission memories from Twitter and Kevin Durrant and the NBA. The real MVP here in Patos de Minas this week was definitely our district leader, Elder Ward.

Maria Helena’s baptismal interview was marked for Friday afternoon, but she ended up having to work at the hospital that day until the end of the day. Well, haha, it just so happened (I believe the Lord’s logistics played a part in this ) that E. Ward suffered two kidney stones that same day and went to the same hospital for urgent care. To summarize the story, E. Ward performed the baptismal interview in the entrance of the hospital as he was waiting to be admitted and as Maria Helena was leaving work. I’m sure he was in some great pain as he did the interview and he certainly deserves an award for his effort to fulfill his responsibility.

Maria Helena foi batizada on tem! Even though she worked all through the night, Sunday morning she was excited for her baptism. After church ended we had the baptismal service. It was muito legal to see her change from not reading the Book of Mormon or really wanting to go to church to exercising great faith, being an example to her family (whom we hope will follow her example of being baptized) and loving her new church family. If we follow the Savior Jesus Christ our lives will be changed!

I started my third mission journal this week. The first was all English, the second all Portuguese, and although I’m trying to reach a balance in between the two, the third is just about all Portuguese as well. It really is a challenge to write sensible English. Crazy!

Something happened this week that was a marvelous blessing: we gained an hour and a half of P-Day! Now we only do 30 minutes of personal study instead of 1 hour of personal and 1 hour of companionship study before P-Day begins! This morning we went and played volleyball with the zone for about 3 hours. We threw some American football too! It looked cloudy when we left the house so I didn’t put sunscreen on and WOW I got burned hahahaimcryinghahaha. I’ll be smarter next time.

I hope you guys are enjoying the cold weather! I’m burning up here. Haha, but com certeza I’d rather be here! 5 more months of joy and miracles!

-Elder Anderson

 Batismo da Maria Helena!

 Some amazing sunrises of Patos de Minas

 Gabriel received the Priesthood today!
 Hélio also!
 A cool idea: 1 in every 6-7 chips is super hot but you can't tell which on it is hahaha! (I brought this to our zone neeting and it was pretty fun)
And a haircut!
Brain freeze.............

Monday, January 16, 2017

Fruits on Trees

 Bebendo tereré
 It's like chimarrão but cold and sweet instead of hot and bitter
 My shirt still needed some ironing after I had already putten it on and so I improvised. Putting a book on the inside provides a solid surface on which to pass the hot iron :D
 E. Brandão got to the apartment 4:00 am after returning from a meeting in Goiânia and he brought the package from....Elder Sweet! Even though it was 4am I got pretty excited
 Yum! (My tan line is bad, wow)...and that hair! (mom's comment!)

 The lunch we made on Friday, Kodiak Cakes!

  A caixa e seu conteúdo
 All kinds of good stuff
 After a great day of missionary work
 A galera! Todos os Elderes de Patos de Minas
 Some pics from the road
 I'm going to cut my hair today

 Patos de Minas is the national capital of corn (milho)
 Eu amo Brasil
E. Brandão and I in front of one of the best acerola trees in town

One of the greatest things about Brasil has to be that you can frequently find a snack just dangling over your head as you walk down the road. There’s a ton of fruit trees here. Just this week I ate acerola, goiaba, and limao as we walked on the street during the day. It’s pretty great! A lot of times there’s kids climbing trees to get mangoes and other fruits haha; one time in Goiania some kids gave me 4 ripe jambos! There’s lof of fruit here that doesn’t exist in the US. Go look up on Google the ones I already have written and also maracuja, pequi (eu amo pequi! Mas muitas pessoas nao gostam kk), jaca, and caja-manga. There’s quite a variety and many fruits I don’t even know yet.

There are a lot of motorcycles here and I think it’d be pretty cool to have one but it’s definitely not worth it. This week and accident happened 80 yards behind us. A guy on a moped ran into a kid on a bike. The kid walked away just fine, but the guy on a moped got scraped up pretty bad and probably broke his leg and a few ribs. I pray he has a smooth recovery. Within 3 minutes of the accident there had appeared a group of about 20 people at the scene. Nobody knew the injured person, but all were willing to help him, offering their phones for him to contact his family. It reminded me that “somos todos irmaos”. 

ELDER SWEET SENT ME A PACKAGE!! I got so happy haha. He sent me a bunch of great candy and a sincere letter about the mission that helped me a lot. He's one of the best friends from my mission, and it was neat to see that he still remembers me kkkk. A shout out to him if he ever reads this!

We worked hard this week, and it was awesome. The happy thing is that we found a bunch of good families to teach and felt the Spirit guiding us to find and teach them. We invited them all to church and had faith that all of them would come. The sad thing is that only one person came. It's hard to work with people! I know that I can't control the agency of other people, but I have faith that if we continue working diligently then the Lord will bless us with people to teach who are sincerely seeking the truth.

It was Maria Helena who came to church. we're going to help her be baptized this week! If not this week, soon afterwards her 12 year old son will be baptized too. Só milagres!

I PASSED THE YEAR AND A HALF MARK! Doido demais. My mission is passing quickly. I'm almost done with a fast that I'm doing to finish strong and receive inspiration to set goals that will help me work as well as I can until the end. I love being a missionary and am so glad I have 5 more months! Vai ser ótimo. Continuemos e cresçamos na fé!

Elder Anderson

Monday, January 9, 2017

Some Good Manual Labor!

 My (not) white shirt after moving dirt

 An acerola tree
My new companion, Elder Brandão, de Rio Grande do Sul
!There's a few of these trees around town, and it's nice to pick a few acerolas for a snack during the day.
Me in front of the "pé de acerola"

I think Heavenly Father heard how many times I said “I  miss working like this with my Dad at home” to E. Gomez whenever we passed men working on a home improvement or construction project alongside the road, because E. Guzman and I (I was with him for a day while I waited for E. Brandao to get here. I was in the MTC with E. Guzman and it was awesome to work with him for a day!) had the chance to do some good manual labor. We were going to teach a family, and when we got there, they were taking a break from moving a truckload of dirt from the front to the back of their house. There was still a big pile left, and although they tried to convince us to keep our white shirts clean, we got the shovel and wheelbarrow and finished the job in about 30 minutes. It had been so long since I last did yard work and it was awesome! It was 100% worth getting a little dirty. Just about everyone the rest of the day asked us what had happened to make us so dirty haha. After we finished carrying the dirt, we taught them a lesson from Alma 7, invited them to church, and marked to visit them a few days later.

That was a good experience at that house. When we returned, we had a bad one. The dad was totally drunk, sleeping on top of a pile of wood outside the house. One of the 3 kids tried to wake him up. He entered a state of stupid madness that I think only a drug could cause, picked up a large brick, and hobbled/stumbled/ran around and through the tiny house to find the kid who had awakened him. When he threw the brick, the kid had already disappeared around the corner but it almost nailed E. Brandao in the shin. Whoa.

I immediately looked at E. Brandao and said  “I’m so grateful for my parents!”—never, ever have I had to fear a drunken parent. Mom and Dad, thank you so much for raising me with kindness and love always. Here I constantly realize how incredibly blessed I am to have you as parents. The gospel blesses families!

We quickly left and certainly won’t return. It was a tragic and eye-opening little experience.

Every week has its ups and downs, and this week had a lot more ups than downs! My new companion, E. Brandao is awesome. He has a lot of experience as a zone leader and with working efficiently. I know I’ll learn a lot from him in his last transfer.

We’re teaching a mom and son, Maria Helena and Joel, that are progressing really well. After a few invitations they finally read the Book of Mormon and loved it. This Sunday they came to church, like it a lot, and are excited for a branch activity on Wednesday. We’re preparing them to be baptized on the 21st!

6 of the 12 missionaries of Patos were transferred this week, and 6 new ones arrived. They got here with energy and faith, and we’re going to have a lot of success here with them! E. Brandao and I are going to work with specific goals and effective plans and vai dar certo demais.

IT HAS BEEN SO HOT HERE!!!! Usually the cities in Minas Gerais are cooler than those in Goias, but this week we about melted and fried. I’m using sunscreen every day, but I still think I come home with a red face, arms, and neck haha. Brazil is great mas quente pra caramba!

I hope that 2017 is going well in the great USA! It’s starting out as a good year here.

Confiemos em Cristo!

Elder Anderson

Monday, January 2, 2017


Another picture from the baptism last week!

 Midnight fireworks from our room window—FELIZ ANO NOVO!

Kodiak Cakes are now the best pancakes in Brasil!

The only full year I might ever spend outside of the United States ended this week.  I clearly remember December 31, 2015 because I thought about how crazy it was to be beginning the first full year of my life in a foreign country, and since that day when I thought that, time has flowwwwwwn. It was the greatest year of my life! I grew and learned so much. This mission is incredible even though I haven’t gone to school in a year and a half, I’ve learned more in this time that will contribute to my mortal life than in 5 years of school. There are so many blessings I could fill pages, but maybe I won’t write all of them this week---it would take all P-Day to write the first third!

This week we had an awesome leadership meeting with President and Sister Buhrer. They’re great. President spoke a lot about obedience—it really is important. He taught us how to lead a good zone meeting and gave us counsel on how to lead our zones. Also, we were told the transfers that will happen this week. E. Gomez is returning to Guatemala after two solid years and my new companion will be Elder Brandoa from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

I’m really excited to work with him, and I hope the rest of the changes in the zone will help. E. Brandao, like E. Gomez, is at the end of his mission and so I’ll be the last companion of two missionaries in a row haha. It’ll be great. It’s crazy that now I have only 4 more transfers. Time flies, and I think it flies more like a NASA space shuttle than a Brazilian toucan.

I think cousin McKay in Taiwan explains a six-week transfer very well in the following quote from one of his weekly emails, “We were just talking about how crazy time is out here. It seemed that when we were being trained, a transfer of six weeks was so long. It seemed to have a full other world packed into those six weeks. Now being in the field for a while, you blink your eyes and six weeks go by. It seems that the same amount of miracles, blessings, stories, salvation is still packed in, BUT TIME FLIES. So strange. Anyways, transfers come and go.”

One thing I often think here is this: I wish I could copy my desire to work and paste it into the minds and hearts of other missionaries. Well, it certainly doesn’t work like that. Anyway, a mission is an opportunity to learn how to work with various people.

This week my sister mission ends! The sisters that got here with me will be going home. Doido! If 2 years is fast then 18 months if really, really fast.

As for goals this year, I haven’t had much success in reaching conclusions about my New Year’s resolutions. The only solid goal I’ve made so far is to write in my journal every day until the end of my mission. I was only writing 1-3 days a week, and I want to be able to remember well each day I had during my mission. I’m 100% with this goal so far (easy—only one full day has passed!).

I’m excited for 2017, for the marvelous work of the Lord to be done here in Patos de Minas, and for another great transfer of my mission. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Elder Anderson