Thursday, October 27, 2016

He made it to Piracicaba!

We just received a quick email from the mission letting us know that Nathanael made it to the mission on Monday. It's nice that they reached out, but they gave us no details (I'm trying not to be a hoverer, but I just want a picture)! We'll have to wait for Nathanael to tell us where he is and who his new companion is - something to look forward to.

Dear Brother and Sister Sederholm,

We were so thrilled to receive your son in the Brazil Piracicaba Mission on Monday! We have anticipated his arrival, and you can be assured that he is now safe in his new apartment, with a wonderful companion!

We are grateful to have him serving with us, and look forward to a bright future of work and success in building the Lord’s Kingdom!

Sincerely, 

President and Sister Bangerter
Brazil Piracicaba Mission

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

P-day 5: Day 38 - "The Lord's grace is sufficient"

I'm sorry to get this posted so late this week. I spent the weekend at Disneyland dressed as Minnie Mouse! We had so much fun but I haven't had a chance to get this posted until today.


As far as we know, Nathanael is transferring to his mission today! I'm so excited to hear about his first area and trainer. I'm really hoping the food is better than the MTC food because he can't afford to lose too much more weight. Because of the transfer, we won't hear from him until next Monday, October 31st. He sounds great, and from the experiences he is sharing it seems like he is being taught powerful lessons. I'm so hungry for pictures of him I can't stand it! Hopefully I'll have some to post next week. Enjoy the letter!

Hey!!! Thanks for emailing as always!

I loved reading your guys' emails so much. Thanks. It sounds like life is good but crazy for you guys! I hope Disneyland/everything else was/is great. I loved your guys' pictures. Especially the duck haha. Not all of them are coming through but I think that's just the computers here, so I'll be sure to look again when I get to the field. (Tuesday!!) 

Miss you guys so much. Every week here is better though. I'm learning to work harder and focus better. I'm getting a little stir crazy for the field, too. I'm happy to be here but can't imagine having 12 weeks instead of 6. That would be nuts. The language is more or less a little better every day. Honestly it's really, really hard, a lot harder than I thought it would be for certain reasons, but I feel like I have enough to survive out there and I'm sure I'll pick it up even faster in the field, especially if my trainer is a Brazilian. (Oh dear.) 

I'm pretty nervous for the field. I know it's why I'm here, and I'm excited about that, but I'm starting to feel a lot of pressure. I'm wondering if I'll be able to meet the needs of the people I teach, reach the people I'm supposed to reach, be as diligent and hard-working as I want to be, and so on. I've had a couple of really nervous moments. I'm stressed but if my experience in the field is anything like my experience in the MTC, it'll be hard but I'll be ok. I've been reflecting a lot on my 5 1/2 weeks here and I feel that if I've learned anything, it's that the Lord's grace is sufficient. I have a feeling that my testimony of that truth is really going to be tried out in the field, but during my MTC stay I've had to rely on the Lord in some ways more than ever before and He has been a constant presence in my life according to my needs. It's been really incredible. He's increased my capacities and also just carried me countless times. I haven't been perfect here (to my great chagrin, haha) but I've grown closer to the Lord, and I count that as a win. I really have the feeling that that will be the story of my mission, which makes me a little nervous for the challenges that lie ahead, but also makes me feel really grateful. This is something I really need in my life.

We've seen a MTC devotional twice now that Jeffery R. Holland gave about his mission. The first time we watched it was my first day here and I was not in the mood to hear it -- he basically talks about how his mission meant everything to him because he had the experience of walking where Christ walked, just a little bit, in that he was thinking and worrying about his investigators all the time. The second time we heard this devotional was about a week ago, and it hit me a lot harder that time. I've been thinking about it a lot, mostly because I'm starting, in my own small way (and I'm not even in the field yet, so bear with me), to see what he means. I mentioned I'm feeling a lot of pressure and nervousness about how I'll do in the field, and I was thinking that the Savior probably felt some worry about the people He taught and that He probably really wanted to do everything that had been asked of Him. Obviously for Him it was a completely different scale, and in most ways it's not comparable to what my experience will be, but I feel like in my own little way I'm learning a lot more about the Savior by experiencing a shred of what He experienced. It's very, very humbling to me. I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to follow Him in a way that very few people have the chance to do. Being a missionary is unique and I'm scared to get to the field, but really excited, for this reason and others.

I hope all is good with you guys! I miss you guys all the time and think about you all the time, but don't worry, not too much, most of the time haha. :) By the way, I got to go proselyting last Saturday again and it was absolutely the most incredible experience! Maybe one of the best 1.5 hours of my life. Elder Work and I managed to place 9 Books of Mormon and we got 2 referrals. It was a time literally full of miracles. I was terrified right before, because who wouldn't be (not me!), and I was just praying a lot that the Lord would help us. He certainly did. We were able to understand people, talk to people, explain stuff, and answer questions. I think we were lead to certain people, and when it came time to do referrals because we ran out of books, the Lord literally basically did the work for us. We approached a group of people and I just knew what to say -- I asked them if they believed in Jesus Christ (it's a good approach- I only had one person say no the whole time we were proselyting, because this is Brazil I guess), and if they went to church. One of them said no, I asked if they wanted to learn more about ours and explained that we were missionaries, and they said yes! It was so amazing! So they filled out the form and there you go. Afterwards, someone asked how we got the referral and I just knew it wasn't us. I don't know how to explain it, but even though it was us saying the words and doing the stuff, it wasn't us. I don't really know how to explain it -- I think you just have to experience it, or take my word for it. It was incredible. I know the Lord helps His missionaries (and everyone too).

Something happened during proselyting that reminded me of Dad so much that I can't not share it. Dad, we were walking down the street and saw two guys wearing Epica shirts. I wanted to stop and talk to them but they were pushing carts of merch or something so we passed them. It was pretty cool for me though. Later, we were walking back down that same street and we saw them and another guys hanging out and smoking outside. I wanted to try talking to them really, really bad so we went up to them. I said, "Hey, you guys like Epica? My dad totally interviewed Simone Simons!" It was so cool! We talked for a minute. They asked me if I was there for the show (I guess there was an Epica show in São Paulo last week!) and I explained we were missionaries. I talked about the church and offered them a Book of Mormon. They didn't take it but they were really nice and I felt like I made a positive connection. I thought that was a pretty neat experience.

We went to the temple again today and that was good. Every time we go, I feel some peace, and I really need that. I'll have to adjust to not going every week in the field. 

Well that's really all I have time for. I think the next chance I'll have to email you will be Halloween, so that will probably be the next time you'll hear from me. I'll send all my pictures, and probably have quite a few stories already haha, so look forward to that. :) Love you guys tons. Hope you guys are doing well. I pray for you. I'm glad to hear Heavenly Father is blessing you, because I need to know you guys are doing good. 

Love you guys!!

Elder Sederholm

Friday, October 14, 2016

P-day 4: Day 31

The weeks go fast! It's Friday again and Nathanael sounds great! He will be leaving the MTC on Oct 25th so he only has one more p-day in the MTC. I can't believe that. This has been a tough week for me. I've been missing him a lot. I just thought as the weeks pass it would get easier and easier. But that isn't necessarily true. I love my boy! And just like he said, I really miss the face to face conversations. Enjoy!


Hey guys!!!! How's it going??

This has definitely been my busiest and best week yet. Last weekend I got sick (sounds like we were all sick at the same time, sorry to hear that) but I'm feeling much better now. I've been doing this thing where I only speak Portuguese unless I'm eating or playing volleyball (have I mentioned the volleyball here? It's the best) and it's been going really well, for the most part. I don't always make it the whole day because it's super tricky but I do about 10-12 hours a day, and I feel like that's been helping me.

The kitchen looks so great!!! I love the creepy dude in the window. I also loved those Cornbelly's pictures. It looks like you guys had a great time. I showed the picture of dad sitting next to the unicorn to Elder Work and he thought it was funny. You guys are great. Sounds like you have a full month! I know you guys will be able to do everything you have planned. It sounds stressful though. Definitely send lots of pictures. It sounds like you guys are getting into the halloween spirit too so that's good. My first P-day in the field will be Halloween I think so I will definitely celebrate in style. By the way, since Mom asked, the food here is not great. I hear the food in Piracicaba is better but man. My stomach has not had a good day since 9-12. My suit pants are a little baggy on me now haha! But that being said, I'm doing great and feel more or less healthy, just a little tired. Still getting used to the time difference I think, and the schedule. 

My companion and district are awesome. Elder Work and I have been getting to know each other better and it's been really good. He's super into anime (specifically Naruto) and he loves The Legend of Zelda so we've been bonding over that haha. He's also a super hard worker so we have been motivating and helping each other. It's been great. He really is an example to me of working hard to learn the language and I appreciate it. My district is cool too. I think I've talked about them a little bit but there are 4 elders and 4 sisters. We all are really different but we get along most of the time haha and it's really good. My instructors are also amazing. I took pictures with Irmão (Brother) Meiatto and I'll be sure to get some with Irmão Diego too because they both are amazing. They are really helping us learn the language -- I mean, that's their job, but they really care about us and want us to be good missionaries. Our classes are always great because of that.

The temple's good too! We've been four times now. I did today's session in Portuguese and only missed a few phrases, so I felt pretty good. It is a lot easier to understand than to speak, and it's a lot easier to understand and speak about gospel stuff than anything else, but hey, I'm feeling good. I know the gift of tongues is real. It's crazy how fast we're learning here and I know I can't attribute a ton of it to myself.

I have anxious days every now and again here, but this week I haven't had as many. Usually so far it's been 50/50 but this week I only really struggled a couple days. I think I'm really adjusting to CTM life. It'll be interesting to see how my first several weeks in the field are. I think it might be pretty rough for a while but I'm ready and excited. It's really genuinely hard here. It's hard work, it's hard being homesick (don't worry, just a little!), it's hard speaking a foreign language, it's hard to focus all day, and it's hard to be away from home! But it's really good. I have a very, very strong conviction that this is where I'm supposed to be and I feel good about it. 

My main concern really is that I won't come through. I've been stressed about that. I really want to have success. In Preach My Gospel it says the true definition of success is (in short) the amount of effort you put in to your mission, not the number of baptisms, etc. I believe that, but I've been worried lately about myself. I really want to be the best missionary I can be, and I feel like I can be a really hard worker, but I think my fear right now is that I'll get out there and not work as hard as I could. I know I have control over that sort of thing, but I just feel like I'm really weak and I want to do a good job so bad but don't know if I'm up to it. Does that make sense? Anyway, I'm trying to set a type for myself right now by working hard here. I'm not even in the field yet so maybe I should just stop stressing out, but anyway. I want to be able to feel proud about my mission, not guilty because I never worked very hard. So I have been feeling some anxiety over this. Today when I was sitting in the temple I had this overwhelming feeling that everything is going to be ok. I feel like I've never really given up on anything that really mattered to me, and this might be the most important thing I've ever done so far, so based on past experiences, I'll be all right. I just want to serve well. There's a lot of pressure and a lot of worry. I'm doing well though, I'm working harder than ever, and I feel good. Maybe I should just chill a little, haha. 

Miss you guys always but I'm getting more and more used to the idea that I'll be gone for two years. After being gone for a month (as of yesterday!) it doesn't feel as long as I thought it would. I'm starting to find it easier to focus on the work and be happy. So that's good. I think I'm already learning a lot from this experience, and it's just been great so far. I want you guys to know I will serve well. I've been working as hard as I absolutely can (or trying to. I'm always trying, haha) and I'll keep doing it. I'm determined to be able to look back in two years and feel very satisfied about my efforts, no matter the outcome. I know that working hard is the right thing to do. The Lord is really helping me every day and without His intervention I wouldn't be here. I'm having a really good experience.

I think that's all I have time to say this week. Love you guys so much!!! If you have any questions about mission life let me know. Next P-Day's my last one here so that's pretty crazy. I'm nervous for the field but also very excited. Good luck on all the crazy October stuff, don't get sick again, enjoy fall, and have a great week.

Love you guys (Amo vocês? Do I dare use portuguese in this email? Too late!),

Elder Sederholm

p.s. if you guys want to know how to say something in Portuguese, let me know. I don't know if I mentioned but I've been learning a little bit on the side from the Brazillians here and I'm getting pretty good. I hear it comes in handy in the field.


p.p.s. sorry for the lame joke. Miss talking face to face with you guys haha.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

P-day 3: Day 24

The weeks are starting to move by a little faster than they were at first and Fridays are definitely my favorite day of the week! I've been a little slow to get this posted this week but that doesn't mean I'm any less excited to hear from Nathanael. I'm in Denver helping my mom tile her kitchen backsplash. It has been fun but really busy. I have a few minutes downtime so I'm posting.

Nathanael sounds fantastic! It's such a relief to know that he is coping well with missionary life in a place so far away. I love that he is throwing himself into the work (it's super fun that his companion's name is Elder Work) and relying completely on his Heavenly Father. It is inspiring to read his letters and feel of his love for missionary work. I'm so proud of who Nathanael is. Here is his letter:

Hey!!

Thanks for emailing me! It sounds like life is good for you guys and that's good. I miss you guys but am glad everything is good. Time is starting to fly by here, and I'm really getting into the groove of working, practicing the language, etc. My body is also starting to adjust to the food haha. I've had a cold for a few days but am fine. 

I want to tell you guys about proselyting last Saturday first. It was so amazing!! They gave me and Elder Work 3 Books of Mormon each and they had us just go out and talk to people. It was crazy. I tried to talk to everyone but sometimes it was really scary haha :) you know. But we got all of our books handed out and it was so so cool! Man! I've really never had a day like that, or an experience like that, so it was really cool for me. Nothing like knowing you're giving people a book that could potentially change their lives forever. Our Portuguese wasn't great but I memorized how to say "I have a present for you and it's free!" and that was good enough for the most part haha. There was one guy who offered to teach us Portuguese over Skype and I didn't know what to say but luckily our instructor was walking by at that moment and he helped us out. The people here are so nice. I had a bunch of people say "not interested, but have a great day!" That seriously happened like 10 times. So proselyting was really cool. It was really good practice and it just felt natural, even though I was nervous.

Conference was good for me! I really liked the talks. I especially liked Elder Christofferson's talk and a couple others which I forgot now. I think one of the new apostles. Conference was good because I was able to feel the Spirit and be inspired on some things I can do.

We went to the temple again today. Don't worry, I'm taking tons of pictures! I already feel like I look different haha. I have that faraway look in my eyes that only those who have been to the jungle have. Jk. Kinda. Also, my language is really coming along. Obviously I'm not even close to fluent but I'm learning tons and the gift of tongues is really helping me. I find I'm easily able to remember words I need, I can understand many things people say, and when I'm confident enough to open my mouth, I can usually say what I'm trying to say. So that aspect of things is going really good. It's easy for me to be hard on myself so I'm learning how to manage that but luckily you guys taught me a lot and I'm doing my best. :)

It's really easy to get discouraged here because the stakes seem so high -- work as hard as you can or people you might have taught will never know the truth; keep all the rules all the time or you won't be able to teach; always speak your language or you won't have the gift of tongues; etc. I'm not perfect obviously so I've really been having to learn how to balance having high standards and expectations while also not being perfectionistic and hard on myself. It's been interesting, and definitely the theme of my MTC experience so far. I don't know if I mentioned it, but the Sunday before general conference we had a lesson on the atonement in church that was really powerful. I had a really strong impression then that Heavenly Father loves me and wants me to just do my best and the Atonement will make everything right. Well, during general conference I was feeling really unsettled and I wanted to know what I can do to feel better. I had a really strong impression during the opening hymn (that was fast!) on Saturday morning that the Lord's grace is still readily available, that the Lord is with me, and that I just need to do my best. In my mind, I was kind of thinking, "ok, but then what?" Later that day (or it might have been during a Sunday session) one of the apostles quoted the scripture, "Did I not speak peace to your mind?" or something like that, and I had an unmistakable impression that that was the Lord's message for me, that I need to rely on His atonement and do my best and everything will be ok. I've been doing my best to apply that message since then and I have felt much more peace and happiness in my life. I mean I was ok before but the Lord is helping me to have a more constant feeling of peace instead of a bunch of back and forth, which is what the first couple weeks were like.

As far as the package goes, I could also use some more hair gel. I thought when I came down here I would be able to find stuff but this is literally a foreign, non first-world country, so there you go. Haha. That's all I can think of, but I'll let you know if there's anything else. Also I'm excited for the paper letters!! Yay!! Thanks for that.

I had a really neat experience yesterday during splits -- I got to bear my testimony of the First Vision in Portuguese. I've done it before but I have the scripture memorized and I was feeling really confident yesterday so while we were teaching, I held up a picture of the first vision and said something like, "in his words this is what happened... (read the scripture)... this event forever changed the world because God began to restore His gospel to the earth, and I know this is true." I don't know why but the Spirit was so, so strong, and I know other people were feeling it too. It was a real blessing because I have had a testimony of the first vision for years but yesterday I felt it burning so strongly within me for the whole day that I would have defended it with blows. It was a really good experience. (Don't worry, I won't hit anyone while proselyting!)

Love you guys so much. Things are good here. I don't know how to explain it, but the Lord is succoring me in my weaknesses and making me stronger, more able, and more confident. I have help here because He is with me. It is really true that we are never out of reach of the Lord's help, even if we're halfway across the world. 

Keep sending emails!! Love you guys.

Elder Sederholm