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