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

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