Thursday, December 29, 2016

P-day 14: Day 104 - "I still have 'fé de novinho.'"

We were surprised and happy to get a short email from Nathanael on the Monday after Christmas! He told us they wouldn't be able to write because all the LAN houses would be closed for Christmas but it turns out they were able to use the computer at the church and send a short email. You'd think after talking to him on Christmas I'd get my fill, but I always want more! Here's his email and a few pictures. Enjoy!

Yo parents, 

We are at the chapel here and so I get to write you guys!! Super excited about that. We talked yesterday but I'm happy that I get to write you guys and I'm hoping we can chat for a little bit. This email might be a little short, so I'll just fill you guys in on anything I forgot yesterday. (I made a list.)

First of all, I loved talking to you guys yesterday. I feel a little sad today because we can't talk like that all the time but it's all good. All just part of the mission experience, you know? 

I'm sending a bunch of pictures today. 

I forgot to mention, I gave my first blessing in Portuguese this week! I gave a couple blessings in the MTC to missionaries in our district but on Tuesday after our district meeting, a sister who has one less transfer than me asked my companion for a blessing, and he asked me to give it (to practice. Trainers are the worst) haha and anyway I did it. I didn't really have time to feel nervous. I love giving blessings -- the first time I ever gave one I was really nervous but it was a miraculous and amazing experience -- and it was the same way. I was led by the Spirit and knew what to say, even in Portuguese. It was an amazing experience. It's amazing how you can just know things about a person and know how to bless them and so on. I'm always amazed after having that experience.

As far as the work goes, we have 2 baptismal dates marked and another investigator committed to be baptized. I'll fill you in more on the details next week, especially if they actually get baptized, haha. We have hope, and I still have "fé de novinho," which is basically greenie over-enthusiasm. So we're hopeful. 

What else can I say? Love you guys. Like I said, it was so great to talk to you. Only 5 short months and we will see each other again! Yesterday was comforting because I've felt like I will never ever see you guys again, but yesterday, I saw you.

Love you guys.

Elder Sederholm

Christmas Day!

Talking to Nathanael on Christmas was amazing! Of course I cried. It was just so good to see him! He sounds so grown up. I can't believe how much maturity happens in such a short time. They spent their day at the home of his bishop, which I'm grateful for. I'm glad the members take good care of them. Nathanael sent me a copy of their meal calendar and they either eat with the members or the members provide a meal for them every day.

We got to meet Nathanael's companion, Elder Oliviera, for a few minutes. The internet connection was a little spotty because of a huge wind storm in Denver (which actually knocked the power and internet out about 30 minutes after we hung up) so sometimes Skype would freeze, making it a little awkward when Elder Oliviera was talking to us in English and we'd just stare at him but he told us, in English, that he was taking care of Nathanael. It was awesome! I'm glad Nathanael is with a companion that likes to work and is concerned about him. Tender mercies.

As we were about to hang up, I took a couple of pictures of Nathanael on the computer screen. He looks happy!

I spent some time with my quilting friends Kellie and Tammy right before we left for Denver and Tammy was making a weighted blanket for her son. It is supposed to be comforting for people who are struggling with anxiety. As you already know if you've been following along over the last 3 months, Nathanael has been struggling with some anxiety. I decided to make a weighted blanket for him. When I saw this Zelda material, I knew it was perfect! With help from my mom and Cassie, we were able to get it done in one evening. The feel of it on you is actually amazing. Now I just hope it makes it to him in Brazil!

Well, the call to Nathanael made my Christmas. I'm glad he's doing well. As much as I miss him, I'm glad he is where he is, doing what he is doing. I feel like he's on loan to the people of Brazil and as much as I can't wait to get him back, I want him to do as much good as he can while he is there. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2016

P-day 13: Day 97 - "I know it's what the Lord wants for me."

Here is Nathanael's latest letter. Good weeks and hard weeks. I was sad to hear that he still hasn't received our Christmas box. There have been a couple of mix-ups and he's gotten the wrong boxes which means that others have not gotten theirs either. Sad! I really hope he gets it before Christmas.

Hang in there Nathanael! We love you! Merry Christmas!

Hey guys!! (I think I always say the same thing. Oh well) 

It is always so good to get your emails, so thank you. You may not realize how helpful and comforting they always are to me. It sounds like you guys are doing great! When are you going to Denver? It sounds like life is busy but good. I'm glad you got to go to the temple, and it sounds like you are doing a lot of family names and that is awesome! 

Tell Sister Goodman thanks, she is awesome and I miss her too. Heck I miss everyone in the ward. Our ward here is nice but sometimes they talk in a foreign language and it trips me up.

Here is the plan for Christmas: I'm going to be available all day to Skype, so make sure to get all that figured out, and let's talk in the chat about a time that will work well for both of us. I can also email you when I'm ready if that's better. We're going to pass Christmas in a member's house and it's going to be really chill I think. I'm super, super, super, super, super excited to talk to you guys!!!!!! Ah!!! So that will be good.

I'm doing good this week. I'm struggling with all manner of different feelings and so on but I'm doing good too. Mission life is great and really hard. I love the work -- I love teaching, I love talking to people, and the language is really starting to improve for me so that's good. Our ward Christmas activity was Wednesday and I found myself alone in a conversation with 3 brazillians and I was talking and they were understanding me!! It felt like I was back in Pleasant Grove just talking with ward members, and that was really really cool. The bad news is that the work has ground to a halt this week. We had very few lessons and no investigators at church, even though we're trying as hard as we can, and that's very frustrating for us, especially becuase the people we are teaching are so good and could be baptized very soon if they would just keep their committments... sigh... but we are doing what we can and praying a lot. Haha. People always have their agency, and we are also looking for things we can improve.

It sounds like Rogue One was awesome. I'm jealous. I saw a poster for it hanging up and got all excited. I'm not the world's biggest Star Wars fan as you guys know but I like it a lot and look forward to watching it when I get home. There's always time for me to change my mind ;)

We eat with the members about half of the time, and the other half they pay for us to eat at home. And I've faithfully been eating 3 meals a day for several weeks, thank goodness. I'm still kinda skinny but I feel much better. The bad news is that I'm sick for the first time in the field (and I'm a little p.o.'d) but I asked Elder Oliveira to give me a blessing tonight and I'm taking Ibuprofen (which Brazilians have never heard of). So things are ok in that sense.

What else can I say? Dad, I stinking loved the picture that you sent me. [I'm including the picture here for your reference. It's a running joke in our little family. I'll be interested to see who knows the reference...]

Thanks for that. I miss you guys a ton, I've been struggling with homesickness this week and overwhelming feelings of anxiety and so on as always, but I'm improving every week, I think. Things are ok. I have high hopes for this transfer and this mission. Some days I just want to be home but I understand the promised blessings of the mission for myself and the people I teach, and above all I know it's the right thing for me right now, I know it's what the Lord wants for me.

I love you guys.

Elder Sederholm

Monday, December 12, 2016

P-day 12: Day 90 - "He's at the helm."

I had another crazy morning with weird dreams while waiting for Nathanael's email to come. This time I was mad at Carl because in my dream he was downstairs cooking breakfast and wasn't paying attention to when Nathanael's email came. Of course, my phone was freaking out and I couldn't tell if the email had come or not. It didn't occur to me to be grateful that he was cooking breakfast. Poor Carl, I wake up mad at him every Monday!

This was a good week. Nathanael sounds really great. I think he's starting to enjoy his time in Brazil.


How are you guys?? I'm sorry that I'm writing so late. This morning has been crazy. But I'm excited to talk to you guys! This week has been really good. We've been working hard as always. The time is starting to fly by a little bit. On P-Day last week Elder Arias (from Argentina) made tacos and they were really good. I sent pictures. So we've been having fun. I'm always a little stressed and I've been struggling quite a bit with homesickness this week (I think it's just the Christmas season) but I'm doing well. I've been thinking a lot about this actually.

Yesterday was hard for me. I was feeling really homesick and overwhelmed. We had a special church conference though and I was really hoping to feel inspiration there. It was a broadcast for all of Brazil, and Elder Holland spoke. He did a really good job and we could feel his love for us. It was a sweet meeting. He spoke quite a lot in Portuguese and it was cool, and plus it raised my self-esteem in the language a little bit, haha. I've been struggling with the language this week too. But I was feeling really overwhelmed during the meeting, to the point where I was in tears, and I didn't know what to do. I've really been trying hard to focus on my blessings and be grateful for my difficulties, so I just said a little prayer of gratitude for my challenges. I felt this feeling of peace and I remembered what President Cutler taught us about during that fireside after trek. I don't know if you guys remember but he talked about that poem about trees who grow in wind or something like that. I felt like the Spirit whispered to me: "I need strong missionaries." I understood in that moment that the Lord is giving me these trials or allowing me to have them or whatever it may be so that, in the future, I can be a really strong missionary. He wants me to be excellent so He's giving me personalized tutoring right now, and for me that includes struggling with homesickness, worry, and the language, and everything else. That was really comforting to me. He's at the helm.

We've been working really hard with 2 families lately. Unfortunately they are both really awesome but won't go to church. We want so badly to help them receive the gospel and we love them but they are struggling. I really enjoy working with them and talking to them but it's frustrating sometimes too. 

I got tons of letters, and Cassie's package this week!! Make sure to thank Benson for me -- he sent me two letters and they are awesome. I don't have his email so I can't write him. And thanks for the letters and everything. I should get your package tomorrow -- there was a mix up and I got another Elder's christmas package instead, but my comp is going to Piracicaba today and he's going to make the trade. Cassie sent me a bunch of awesome stuff and Christmas decorations, and I decorated. My room is way more awesome now, and I love it!

I'm happy to hear about Eric!!! I hope his birthday was good. He told me last week that he was planning on playing Left 4 Dead with you (Dad) on Wednesday. I hope that was fun. I'm jealous of your Skyrim and Xbox in general and you have to keep me posted on your playing.

I feel good this week. I stress out a lot and stuff but I know the Lord is and is going to help me. Sometimes I think I'm adjusting well and sometimes I feel like I'm in 10/10 freakout mode, seriously. This week has been a little rough. But don't get me wrong, it's been great and I'm always feeling your support and prayers. Thanks so much for everything. I love you guys.

Talk to you soon,
Elder Sederholm

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

P-day 11: Day 83 - "What's the best thing that happened? Well... we baptized Aparecido!"

This morning had a strange beginning. We usually get an email from Nathanael on Mondays at about 5:45 am. So every Sunday evening I set my phone so I can hear emails come in and set my alarm for 5:45. This morning I woke up at 5:44 and checked for an email. When there wasn't one I reset my alarm for 6:00 and went back to sleep. 

When I fell back to sleep I started having crazy dreams. I dreamt that Nathanael showed up at our front door in his white shirt and tie. I asked him, "Does your mission president know where you are?" And he answered, "No." Then I woke up. It was 5:58. I checked my phone again for an email and when there wasn't one I set my alarm for 6:30 and fell back asleep. 

This time I dreamt that we finally got an email but when Nathanael tried to message us Carl told him that we didn't have time to talk to him. I was so mad at him! I was yelling at him while trying to get online really quickly so I could still try to message Nathanael. But you know those dreams where no matter what you do you can't do the right thing? I kept hitting the wrong buttons and going to the wrong websites. I was so frustrated! Just then my phone dinged, waking me up. Finally, it was Nathanael's email!

When I told Nathanael about how the morning went he said that there was a missionary in his mission that got on a bus in the middle of the night and went home. I told him he better not do that because he doesn't have enough money in his account to get a plane ticket. He told me he wouldn't do that because the plane ride to Brazil was so "abysmal" that he will only ever do it again at the end of his mission. We both laughed.

Well there is exciting news this week - read on to hear all about it. Enjoy!

Hey guys!! 

Just want to say thanks for the emails. I love getting them every week and it's so good for me to feel your guys' love and everything. I can feel your prayers and support all the time and you are truly sustaining me, even though you're far away. So thanks! Sounds like your week was uneventful but good. I love hearing that there's snow. Make sure to send pictures! Christmas lights are starting to come up here and I'm even hearing a little Christmas music but I miss the snow.

I'm so happy to hear that Carrick's going to put his papers in soon. I've been thinking about him and my other friends at home lately. I want them to know how awesome a mission can be. I'm happy here and doing really well this week. What's the best thing that happened? WELL....... we baptized our investigator Aparecido!!!!!!!!! Wow!!!!!!! My and my comp are both so, so excited about this!!!! It's the first baptism he's had in 4.5 months so he's really happy, it's my first baptism obviously so I'm super excited, and heck it's just exciting. This area hasn't had a baptism since March either so the members are really excited. Everyone's excited! Yay!! So that's the really good news. 

The other really good news (actually there is lots this week haha) is that I have had a really good week. The work was actually really difficult besides the baptism. We had a lot of trouble finding new investigators. But I worked really hard to do what you said and just apply what I did a couple weeks ago when I had such a good week, and that was perfect. I still felt anxious and homesick a lot, but I tried really hard to focus on the blessings and the good things that were happening and also just accept the fact that sometimes I will have those feelings. I also tried thanking God in my prayers for the difficulties and negative feelings I've been having and asking Him to help me grow as a result of my challenges (to make them worth it, haha) and that's been excellent. I think I really am growing.

It's the end of the transfer today and we got word of what's going to happen. Here it is: (drumroll) my companion and I are both staying here!!! He's really surprised that he's staying because this will be his third transfer here. He really struggles with our area but I think the baptism Sunday has renewed us both for this coming transfer. We're working with a couple families that are really great, including one he's been teaching literally since his first day here, and we feel like we are going to have success. So we're excited about that. Of course we can have success and not baptize, if we're doing our best, but dang it, we want to baptize haha.

I should mention that Aparecido asked me to perform the baptism and I did. So that was a really great experience. I don't remember if I told you guys but I got to perform baptisms in the São Paulo temple while I was in the MTC so luckily I already had some practice. I was really nervous. After we baptized and confirmed him a bunch of members came up to congratulate him and so on and I had this moment where I saw everyone as if we were all just brothers and sisters in Christ, together in this flock. It was really neat for me. He's a member of the church now! How do I describe it? It was amazing. If I never had a baptism (may it not be!) this whole mission would be worth it. I probably just jinxed myself haha.

I want to tell you guys about a spiritual experience I had the other day (Saturday). We were eating lunch with an investigator family and I had the strongest feeling of peace during this quiet moment, and the words "You are going to love your second transfer", along with the strongest feeling of love, came into my heart. This transfer has been excellent, don't get me wrong, but I had the feeling that I'm going to continue to adjust and the problems I've been experiencing will fade, that the work will come more fully into focus and we will have an excellent transfer. I'm so excited about this. I was reading Luke 6:21 the other day (blessed are those who cry, for they will laugh, or something like that) and felt the same way. I have definitely shed a tear or two here, haha. Oh and I read 2 Nephi 8 and felt the same feelings. That chapter is a beautiful Isaiah chapter all about how the Lord will redeem Israel and I felt that, like Israel, I will have cause to say more and more every day, "Where is the fury of my opressor?" Or in other words, the worries and anxieties and difficulties I'm having will be overcome by all the blessings and will be so completely abolished that I won't be able to believe it. Is that too optimistic? I don't think so. I know I will have challenges always but I also know I'm going to love my mission. So I'm very excited.

One last thing -- your package got here (!!!!!!!) and I'm super excited, but the problem is, I have to pay 271 reals to pick it up. So... yeah. I think it's going to be about $100. Anyway, that's the only bad news. Always difficulties, but I think that's just part of the experience. Love you guys. Hope everything is well as always.

Elder Sederholm

Monday, November 28, 2016

P-day 10: Day 76 - "I know I'm where I'm supposed to be."

As always, it's so good to hear from Nathanael. It's bringing back so many memories of my mission to read his letters. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. Carl and I joke that we just woke up from a nightmare that we got called back on a mission. The only thing I can say is that the things that are hardest always seem to be the most worth it. I will never regret the time I spent in Argentina. Keep it up Nathanael! You'll be glad you did.

Nathanael is disappointed this week because one of their strong investigators, Marcello, decided he wasn't willing to commit to living the word of wisdom. He had been coming to church and had a baptismal date set. I remember how disappointing it was when that would happen. But Marcello is better off than he was before because of the things he has learned about the gospel and Jesus Christ. Maybe there will be a day when he decides he wants to be more involved. We'll pray for that.

Here is Nathanael's letter. He worries that as he shares how hard his mission is for him that it will dissuade others from wanting to go. But I think that it makes the experience real and that when others are going through the same challenges they will be able to relate and feel that others understand what they are going through too. It's good to share these things. I'm proud of Nathanael and the growth I can see in him. He's brave for undertaking this challenge. 


What's up?? 

This has been quite a week for me. The work has been good, but hard. We had trouble finding new investigators this week to teach, and we didn't have anyone at church on Sunday which was really disappointing for us. But we've been working hard as always and I know that things will be good this week. We've been praying a lot, haha. Elder Oliveira and I have been getting along well, which is good. Sometimes he gets a little impatient but I think it's just a mix of his personality and stress that he's feeling about the work. I'm trying to be patient with him. Overall things are good there though.

This week stress-wise has been so, so hard. Don't let me alarm you guys :) but I always want to be honest about stuff like that. Sometimes I worry that people will read these letters and think that a mission is so hard that it's not worth it, but make sure to tell them I don't feel that way, haha. I know I'm growing and I've been asking the Lord to help me understand what I can learn from my difficulties, and He is helping me. On Tuesday I woke up with the strong impression that a challenge was coming. That was true. This is embarassing but I literally broke down and sobbed in the bathroom 4 different times this week. I'm not even sure I can explain why completely, or why this week has been so hard. I asked Elder Oliveira to give me a blessing on Wednesday and that was very comforting to me, but I've still been struggling. In the blessing he told me a lot of stuff and I'll include some of it: that the Lord will lift all my burdens off my shoulders, that I will have the strength to continue working hard and that I will have an excellent mission, that I will have the opportunity to bring many people unto Christ's atonement, that my teaching and language will improve, that I'll find joy in the midst of my difficulties, and that Jesus Christ has gone before me in everything and that his angels are constantly surrounding me. That was hugely comforting to me. But still, I don't know what it's been about this week, but I've had such a hard time. But the mission is good, the people we teach are good -- it feels so good when a lesson goes well and the people make and keep their comittments -- and so on.

This is the last week of the transfer, and Elder Oliveira thinks he's leaving and I'm staying, so I've been trying to prepare myself to be the one who has friendships with the investigators and so on. I've been talking a lot more and trying to stretch myself in that way, and that's been good. I feel like I'm seeing my improvement.

Remember how we were teaching Marcello? Out of nowhere this week, he said he didn't want us to teach him anymore, and he didn't go to church. That's been really hard for me. I walked out of that lesson so disappointed -- it was night and raining, and I felt like Charlie Brown (do doo dooo, doo doo). That really was the worst. But we have faith that eventually we will find someone who will accept the gospel. There hasn't been a baptism here in almost 9 months but we have faith that it's possible.

I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. I don't know how I'm going to have or find the capacity to do this sometimes, but I know I'm where I'm supposed to be and, like we're always telling our investigators, the Lord will always provide a way for us to accomplish His commandments. The gospel has always been so real for me, but now it's more real than ever, I think. He has asked me to sacrifice a lot (I'm not saying I'm sacrificing everything, but the sacrifice is real!) and I'm having to really trust Him out here. 

Love you guys.
Elder Sederholm

Monday, November 21, 2016

P-day 9: Day 69 - "So far this has been my best and happiest week."

Nathanael sounds great this week! There was no talk of anxiety at all. What a difference! Our plan of attack was for him to pray for his investigators and the work, and for us to pray for him. We wanted his focus to shift a little more toward the work, hoping the anxiety would fade into the background a little. I'm so proud of him for working through this rough time and focusing on the work. It sounds like it's making a difference. When we were messaging he was back to his normal, funny banter. It was nice. I'm sure there will still be hard weeks, but learning how to manage them is important and I feel like he is doing that. Thank you to those of you who have reached out to him and for everyone's prayers. The blessings have been evident. We will continue to pray for him as he prays for those he serves. We welcome any who want to join in. The more the better!

Here are a couple of pics he sent. He's been sending a few every week and we finally got some from his first area.

Here is his apartment in Centro:

Here are a couple of Nathanael (with a new haircut!), one with his new companion:

 Nathanael and his companion have been doing origami (which is awesome by the way). Here's Nathanael's fist attempt:

Here is Nathanael's letter. Enjoy!

Hey y'all!!

Hey guys. It's been a good week for me. Miss and love you guys. I've really been working on putting into practice the advice you have been giving me. This week has been great for that. Every day has significant challenges like always but I have really been working on seeing the positive. Every day I've been praying that the Lord will help me see things with gratitude and not with worry or pessimism, that He'll help me see myself and the people around me like He sees us, and I've been trying to express extra gratitude and ask a little less. The difference has been astounding. I'm starting to really, really love certain things about my mission a lot. The work is incredible. Almost every day, I reach a point where I don't want to ever talk to a Brazillian again or knock a single door, and then we'll find someone who's amazing, or we'll have a spiritual experience, or at the very least we'll get home and eat dinner -- it's always something. It's hard to love the people and the work sometimes but there are some things that are incredible. We had three people at church this week (the most for us so far!!), and we are working with them for baptism. Our baptism fell through this week with Marcello because he has some things he still needs to work on but he wants to be baptized still. 

So that's really good. So far this has been my best and happiest week. That's been true of every week so far, but this week has really been blessed. I think I'm figuring out some strategies to be happy and have a happy experience. I had two days of divisions today and that provided me with some unique and crazy opportunities (for me so far, haha). On Thursday I went with Elder Gomes and Arias (who live with us) to their area. It was fun to see how they teach and knock doors, and I felt my Portuguese really improving. People are starting to understand me more and more!! Yay! This is good. On Friday, my companion (who is the District leader here) went to another area to do a baptismal interview and he switched with one of the missionaries there, Elder Pina. This was scary for me because we stayed in our area, which meant I had to know where to go, how to communicate with our investigators, plan out a route, and so on. I was really freaked out honestly but it was a huge blessing for me. We found where we were supposed to be, we made our appointments and taught, found new investigators, and everything went well. Elder Pina is dying next week so his opinion means a lot, and he said that he thought I did a really good job. That built my confidence and was good.

We were knocking doors on Saturday and found this mom and her middle aged daughter and taught them. We taught really simply using scriptures from the New Testament about the atonement and how the Lord loves us so he restored His church and so on. It was different from our usual first lessons (and we actually need to go back and re-teach it because we didn't cover everything) but it was really good. There was a really sweet spirit in the room and I think it was a really good example of following the Spirit (on the part of my companion -- I just kinda followed his lead, obviously, but still). Plus they gave us cake afterward. So I liked that lesson a lot. And that was after one of my hardest and most tired days.

Guys I'm worn out but doing good. My confidence is growing a little bit that I can do this misison and do a good job. I'm so painfully aware of all my weaknesses and failures here but I have the strongest feeling from time to time that the Lord is so proud of me. His spirit is with me, He's blessing me, and He loves me. So I'm not perfect, but if I'm good enough to receive the Lord's approval, I think that's good enough for now. I'll keep working at it. I miss you guys. Just want you to know that after we chatted last week I wrote down a summary of what you said and it really saved me this week. I actively applied every step, and I saw my days improve dramatically. So thanks for that!

Anyway I think that's everything. I'm doing my best to let the work become predominant. I love reading your guys' letters. They help me feel so much better and are always full of great ideas and things I can do. Honestly it just helps me to feel your support, and to know I can do it. It's easy to feel like I'm a failure out here, even though I know I'm not. Your perspective and smartness really helps.

Pet Tabby for me! Love you guys.

Elder Sederholm

Monday, November 14, 2016

P-day 8: Day 62 - "This week has been incredibly tough for me but I've had lots of tender mercies, too."

Thank you for writing to Nathanael. He is feeling your support. He is still struggling with some anxiety but he's working his way through it. I know your letters and prayers are helping him to feel strength and are responsible for some of the "tender mercies" he is feeling. It's a blessing that we are allowed to "chat" every week for a few minutes. Going from chatting every night before bed to not chatting at all is rough. I think that the mission president allowing that communication is key to us being able to help him work through some of these issues. Nathanael is strong, but has insecurities just like the rest of us. I keep reminding him that all the struggles he's having are normal struggles and he is progressing just as he should be. This is a growing time for him and growing times are the hardest. He's doing really well.

I think it's funny to note the misspellings in his letter. I remember that happening to me as I became more immersed in the language and started spelling words they way they are pronounced. It made me giggle.

Each week Nathanael sends us a few pictures but he hasn't caught up to his new area yet. We're still in the MTC but I'd thought I'd include a few. 

Here is his letter. If you have any advice for him, feel free to reach out to him. I know he would appreciate any advice. Enjoy!

First I just want to say thanks so much for the emails. They really lifted my spirits. This week has been incredibly tough for me but I've had lots of tender mercies, too. And the work has been progressing! So that's great. I want to talk about it but first some fun stuff about the culture that I've been noticing: First of all, what do they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Brazil? Answer: a Quarterão. Dad, there are tons of Volkswagon Buses here -- they're about as common as CRVs in America -- and every time I see one I think of you. Also, remember that song "Saudade" by Love and Rockets? The word saudade is Portuguese for longing or nostalgia. There's no direct translation but that's roughly the meaning. I thought you would appreciate that. The weather here is nuts. It's been raining like crazy here. The first real rainstorm was last Saturday. I forgot to write about it, but dang -- the streets were literally flooded, and we went tracting!! My shoes were soaked until Tuesday or Wednesday. We are definitely in the jungle, even if we're not, you know what I mean?

Anyway, the people here are great. We have a teaching group of about 15 that we are working with right now, and all of them are interested in what we are teaching. It's great. The most exciting thing about this week was that we marked a baptismal date with Marcello! He will be baptized on Sunday. He is so excited and happy and we are too, haha. I have been struggling with stress but when I think about him I feel joy. It's really amazing to be a part of this work sometimes.

Luckily for all of us, I found some ramen and oatmeal at the store last Monday and I've been eating three meals a day ever since. Thank goodness. I have felt physically a lot better. I forgot to buy sugar unfortunately, but I'll get there.

I'm starting to get used to going to church and not hearing English or seeing anyone I know. The members for the most part are really friendly and I'm getting to know them a little bit. It's fun to eat lunch with them and then see them at church. The lunches here are amazing by the way. 

I'm glad to hear you guys are doing good. Sounds like you have a lot going on as always but you are handling it. Glad the Primary program went well! Mom, I hope your wrist is feeling better. It looks sore. I loved seeing all the pictures you guys sent.

I already have a few funny embarrassing moments. I'll tell you the best one for now and save the rest for later. ;) It was actually at the MTC and I just forgot to tell it. We had divisions with the Brazillians, and my companion told me about a missionary companionship that was in his ward. It was a trainer and a greenie, and the trainer told the greenie to introduce himself to investigators by saying, "Hola, eu sou frango!" which literally means, "Hi, I am chicken!" meaning the food. I thought this was hilarious and went up to a bunch of people and said this. 

I'm glad you guys are getting in the Christmas spirit. I've been listening to a lot of Christmas music. Stores are starting to put up tinsel and trees and snowflakes and stuff which is awesome but kinda weird because it's so hot, haha, but it's cool. By the way, when it comes to an Xbox One or a Playstation 4, I would go for the Xbox. ;) The Playstation will have Uncharted but the Xbox will have everything else. Have fun!!!

I heard that Trump won. I honestly can't believe it, but it's done now, haha. Craziness! I'm not really happy about it but like you said there's not really much we can do and it will be all good.

Guys, my anxiety is really, really, really bad right now. I'm talking bad like it was when it's been the very worst. I don't know what to do. Like I said, everything else is going well but man this anxiety is just unbearable. It's more than stress, you know? My thoughts and feelings have been my worst enemy lately. Do you have any suggestions? I feel stuck. I know before I came here I said I would never give up, and I felt very confident in myself, but I honestly never thought my anxiety could be this bad here. Do you guys have any advice?

Anyway, I don't want to worry you guys but that's how it's been. I love you guys, and just want to say thanks so so much for all the words of incouragement. They are invaluable to me.

Elder Sederholm

Monday, November 7, 2016

P-day 7: Day 55 - "I came to the field thinking I would be this steller, brave, animated missionary like Ammon or something, and instead I'm just me."

Nathanael's time to email us is around 6 am on Mondays with the new time change (he's 5 hours ahead of us now). That's early on a Monday morning, but it gets us up and running (okay maybe not running...). We are NOT early morning people. 

He's had another rough week but ironically sounds great. I keep telling him that everything he is feeling is normal and exactly how it is supposed to be, even though it's hard. Probably not what he wants to hear, but I think he is handling it well. And I'm super glad that he's understanding that being himself is the most powerful thing he can be. I think that his description of himself, instead of being like Ammon, actually does sound a lot like Ammon. I'm proud of him. Enjoy his letter!


Thanks so much for your emails (and I'm excited for those letters/packages too! Thanks!)!! I want to start out by saying this I think has maybe been the hardest week of my life. It's been incredibly, incredibly difficult, but very good. I'm starting to finally come up with some coping stuff I can do -- I like to take deep breaths, pray, write in my journal, sleep, etc, haha. My companion and I are getting along better. We had a really open talk on Saturday and that really helped me and him, I think. We've been talking a lot more and getting along better, and that alone is really really helping me. 

You have to tell Amy I've been using her UV pen like 3 times a day!! It's the best. No one buys botteled water here even though we're supposed to haha so I bought a couple and just fill them up with tap water and purify them. It's totally awesome and a life saver.

I've been discovering a few things about myself this week. I came to the field thinking I would be this steller, brave, animated missionary like Ammon or something, and instead I'm just me, but in a foreign country. It's much more normal here in certain ways than I anticipated. But I'm starting to learn that instead of beating myself up all the time for not being totally awesome, I just need to get up, do my work, and pray with all my heart that the Lord with make something with it, and with me. I was praying last night after feeling really discouraged because I have a lot of trouble opening my mouth and being bold. (I do ok but it's hard sometimes.) I felt the strongest and clearest impression that the Lord is going to remove that weakness from me, over time I'm sure, and help me to overcome that. So there you go. The Lord has been answering my prayers.

I think He gave me my MTC experience so I could learn this very principle (and it's very easy for me to forget) -- that we are not enough on our own, I'm certainly not enough here, but that the Lord will help us and be with us with more power and grace than we can possibly imagine. I've been reading the Isaiah chapters of the Book of Mormon and I've really been struck with how powerfully and totally the Lord rescues his covenant people, even (and especially!) when they are weak. I think that is one of the grand miracles of the atonement -- that thanks to the Lord's grace, we are utterly and completely saved if we will just turn to Him and rely on Him. He will help us. It's easy to forget but it is simply true.

I loved hearing that Cannon was fasting for me! :) You have to tell him I really appreciated it. I know that fast was powerful for me. I received specific answers to prayers yesterday and a whole lot of peace. Make sure to tell him that he made a huge difference for me. I can also feel your guys' prayers all the time -- thank you! I know you guys are always supporting me and thinking about me and I really appreciate and need that.

Good luck with the primary program mom!! You will be awesome. They are always so spiritual and cute, so I know it will be a success. You guys are awesome.

I want to talk about the people we're teaching. The work is so awesome!! We are teaching a lot of people but there are a few that really stand out. My favorite is this mother and son, Regina and Marcello. Marcello is 15 and really interested in our message. We've taught them the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. They haven't read much but Marcello prayed about it and got an answer, and he went to church yesterday!! He is so awesome. We are going to try to set a baptismal date with him this week. I have a really good feeling about him. Plus he reminds me of Tanner and Eric which is a plus. He's a really good guy. We are also teaching a husband and wife and his brother. Their names are Sicero, Aparecido and Creosa. They want to be baptized and we have a date marked, the 19th of November. We have taught them a bunch of lessons. They are having trouble making it to church and understanding everything but they want to keep learning more. It's very exciting. We're also teaching this husband and wife, Marco and Messa, who are really awesome. He wants to be baptized but is struggling to receive an answer about if the chuch is true. Craziness! I'm mostly just following my companion around right now and trying to chip in positively in the lessons, haha, but he's having me teach a lot. Usually he has to go back and re-explain what I said but I taught the Book of Mormon Saturday and he didn't have to, which made me feel good! I'm definitely seeing a lot of improvement in myself. I'm nowhere near where I want to be but I know the Lord is helping me. Most importantly, I can feel that He loves me and is proud of me, and is going to help me. So that's really, really good.

I've been feeling a little homesick and I miss you guys a lot, but it's nothing that's hindering my work. I really miss just sitting down with you guys and playing Xbox and Zelda and stuff, and just talking to you and so on. It's hard for me to believe that I've been away for 8 weeks. Time is slow and super fast all at once. It's hard to explain. I miss you guys but I know we will have the opportunity to be together again and it's all good.

How is everything? Everyone? I want to hear about all your stuff and stuff. Love you guys.

Elder Sederholm