Saturday, November 18, 2017

P-day 61: Day 431 - "I'm looking pretty fly now. Sort of..."

Hey guys!!!

So it's been quite the week. Sounds like you guys are getting ready to have a lot of fun in DISNEYLAND!!!! That's so awesome!!! I'm happy for you guys. This next week is gonna be crazy because we're gonna have the multizona activities on TuesdayWednesday and Thursday so we're gonna have to travel. We're already scrambling around trying to get everything ready so we're super busy. This isn't even gonna be a p-day, I'm just writing you and then I'll go back to getting stuff ready. Even the senior couple is here working today, so it's pretty crazy. My companion and I are getting along pretty well. When he gets stressed things get a little more stressful but I'm trying to roll with it the best I can. It's going ok.

Stop trying to make me homesick!! ;) By the way, I have more than a year and 2 months now. Can you believe it? Time is passing by so fast. I dreamt last night, AGAIN, that I went home, but I was sad because I missed the culture and language of Brazil so much. I think my first few days at home are going to be rough haha. Maybe you guys can just move here! Haha, just kidding, and I'm going to go to college at Utah State obviously, but man I would be lying if I didn't say I'm gonna miss Brazil so much. Something funny happened yesterday. (Kinda) I was looking at my passport and noticed that my visa start date is July 21st 2016 and I thought that that meant I would have to come home before my official end date (august 15th) and I got so sad that I almost cried! It seriously made me so sad!! And then I called Elder Vogl and he explained that the visa only "activates" the day you enter the country and lasts until 2 years from that date, so I felt better after that haha. I was surprised by how sad I felt. It was funny.

[I asked Nathanael about the ring on his finger in this picture. This was his response.]


By the way, the ring I use is sort of a joke. In Brazil there's this system (a silver ring on the right hand means you have a girlfriend, a gold ring on the right hand means you're engaged, and a ring on the left hand means you're married) so I use the ring sort of just to be stupid. Sometimes I tell pretty girls I have a girlfriend. 

To answer your question, we live really close to the office (about 10 minutes away). Everything else is pretty far away but we usually can get a ride from the Wagers or we just walk. 

So here's a superhonest breakdown of my week from day to day, as far as I can remember:

Sunday -- On Sunday we went to church which was obviously nice. I was super tired but enjoyed it. We gave the lady who gave us lunch a blessing and then I left a spiritual thought. I did the anointing part, and then I read from 1 Nephi 8 which is Lehi's dream. I felt the Spirit really strongly and it was comforting and a sweet contrast to my stress. I don't remember really what we did the rest of the day... I just remember I was feeling totally fried because of how stressful last week was.

Monday -- we got permission to go to a zone pday (and there are 30 missionaries in our zone so it was really fun!). I had a great time but at like 3pm I got super tired so I layed down on a pew in the church and tried to sleep. Then I said a prayer asking for someone to talk to about my stresses and like 2 minutes later my friend Elder Jones came over and we talked for a while. That was really nice. 

Tuesday -- I don't remember. I think it was pretty normal.

Wednesday - I was so DANG STRESSED on Wednesday. I had been praying a lot for help, and I went to the bathroom and when I came out my comp was outside of the office (there's this little outside space with some couches) and I just laid on one of the couches and started reading the Book of Mormon out loud cause I needed to relax my brain. And I read 2 Nephi 8 which is my favorite chapter and when I got to verse 12 I started to cry a lot. (My companion was in the bathroom, so it was less embarrassing.) It was like the most loving rebuke I've ever received. I really like 2 Nephi 8 and it has carried me through the hardest parts of my mission. The part starting with verse 12 talks about how even when we are super afraid of "the oppressor" (bad stuff I guess) we shouldn't be because God is so powerful and sometimes we forget that by his power the sea was divided and so on. If He is that powerful then why do we ever doubt that He can be in control of our lives too if we let Him? I felt like God was speaking personally to me through those words. It was a really powerful experience. God will make sure my life will work out great.

Thursday -- coming off of the stress of Wednesday. We had district meeting, and at night we ALMOST had a baptismal interview, but it was planned last-minute and didn't end up working out because the guy wanted to make us dinner first and that wasn't ready until 9.

Friday -- It rained super hard yesterday but luckily we were inside the office. The storm was awesome though. Also, I had the wonderful opportunity to give a blessing. I sealed the anointing of a dude who came in to the office to fix a desk and who was sick. I felt the Spirit so strongly, and at the end I went and sat down and the Spirit in the room was really strong and lingered for a while. There is a tender and sweet spirit associated with giving blessings that you don't always feel in other situations. It was neat.

Today -- I am SO TIRED. I will be ok though. I at times feel incredibly discouraged about the present and the future. I am trying my best though. I'm at 62 weeks of my mission, so either way it'll be over soon so I'm just gonna try to enjoy and take advantage of my remaining time here. I pray a lot. I've been studying the scriptures a little more too. I know I'm not perfect -- I'm so painfully aware of my imperfections -- but sometimes I feel like God accepts my offering. I sure hope so.

Ok, so your other questions. At Christmas we're gonna go to some member's house for dinner or lunch I think but we're gonna do the Skype from the office which should be chill. Only a month and a week left! Also, I didn't change my password. I'm weirded out that you're not able to access. What pictures exactly did I send you though because I don't remember? I can send them to you again. I got a haircut this week by the way... I'm looking pretty fly now. Sort of. I hate cutting my hair but I think having it longer is worse... I can never decide! Sometimes I think it would just be easier to be bald, but I would look really weird if I was bald I think.

I have really mixed emotions about my mission, because on one hand it has taught me so much and I can never be thankful enough for what I've gained from it. On the other hand though it's so ridiculously hard that I just want it to be over sometimes. Now that I'm starting to get emotionally attached to Brazil though it's just even worse. I feel like my whole life is a total wreck honestly. Nothing makes sense anymore. It's like a wonderful nightmare and I can't decide if I want to wake up or not. How's that? It'll work out I guess. What happened on Wednesday was a really tender mercy for me. The Lord is in control. Once more an affirmation that everything is going to be ok. So everything is going to be ok. 

Love you guys tons and hope you're doing well. Thanks for the letter. Let me know what pictures you wanna see and I'll send them. Love hearing from you guys as always.

Beijos

Elder Sederholm



Saturday, November 11, 2017

P-day 60: Day 424 - "The promise is not what makes the difference, it's our faith in it..."

This week Nathanael decided to write to us individually so I'll include both letters. And here are a couple of pictures:




Hey Dad!

It's good to hear from you. Sounds like you've been busy. Sounds rad that you have a Stephen King expert around. Two Stephen King experts together... that's what I'm talking about. 

I think you're right on point with the whole idea of me not having to hear the President's imput. These days I feel more emotionally and spiritually self-reliant, where I feel like I can have a great relationship with God without having to ask other people how I'm doing. I can know. I mean it's always good to ask for input and so on but you know what I mean. 

I have had a crazy week. I actually just finished writing a letter to Mom about it -- it just seemed easier to explain it to her first, mostly because I feel sort of overwhelmed -- but you can read it, the letter is for both of you. You'll see how my week was. We sent 2 missionaries home this week! It was so interesting to see the difference between the two. One knew why he was there, didn't want to leave, and loved his mission. The other one had no idea why he was there, didn't get it, and put himself on the path home. It gave me a lot to think about.

Thinking about missionary work in general, I was reading about Lehi's dream in 1 Nephi 8 last night and loved something I noticed for the very first time. When Lehi is at the tree of life, he looks around and notices Nephi etc. standing around and having no idea where to go. Well, he loved them and wanted to help them get to the tree, but I thought it was so interesting that he yelled in a loud voice to get them over to the tree. They never would have found the tree if someone who was already there hadn't called them over, even though they were surely good people and wanted to find the right place to be. I think that's what the scripture means that talks about people kept from the truth only because they know not where to find it. It inspired me and made me want to be better about inviting more people to learn about the gospel. 

It's been a decent week for me, and a really crazy one. I think it's been unique in many aspects as far as other weeks of my mission go. I have never had a week even sort of similar to this one. Lots of new stuff. I would write more but it's in my email to mom and I don't wanna try and explain it again and try to remember what I said and so on. It's all there. 

I love you so much. I hope you're doing well. I've been feeling weird the last few days. I always miss home but I'm starting to feel like I'm entering into the "transition complete" stage as well. I have never felt so at home here in Brazil. I love the culture, I love the food, I love the people, the clothing, music, nature, language, and everything else. I think it's so great. I love the US and it will always be my home of course but (and I mentioned this to Mom too) I had a dream last night that really made sense to me that I came home and was talking to everyone and I just felt so weird and out of place and sad. I didn't want to be there, and when I woke up I felt so much better. Well, who knows how I'll feel in about 9 months when I'm going home. I have always said to myself that my goal is to cry bitterly from sadness when I go home, so maybe that'll be what happens. We'll see. I love this mission!

Love you Dad. Hope you have a great week. I pray for you and Mom both, and I really just hope you're doing well. It sounds like you are. I'm here for you guys always even though I'm far away, so just know that. You're the best.

LOVE YOU!!!
Elder Sederholm

Hey Mom,

I love the look of the Christmas Village! I'm glad you guys are getting in the holiday spirit. Way to go. Sounds like you are loving your job too, which is wonderful.

Well I hope you guys are well. I'm having a hard time organizing my thoughts today so I'm just going to write you and Dad separetely -- I hope that's ok with you both. I sure miss you guys. I had a funny dream last night though that I was at home and I was saying hi to everyone, but I just felt so out of place and sad. I was sitting in church (in the dream) and thought, could it be that my mission is really already over? And suddenly I woke up and I was SO HAPPY to see that I was on my mission still. That was really funny. I've had that dream 2 or 3 times before, except those other times, I was sad to see I was on my mission still. So, I guess that's a good sign.

I've had a crazy week and I just want to talk to you about it. On Monday and Tuesday there was a mission leadership council meeting in Piracicaba with all sister and elder mission leaders. It was CRAZY. On Sunday and Monday night we had about 20 elders sleeping at our house. Both nights it was just nuts and I slept really late and woke up early. You know how missionaries are, especially elders. On Monday night I was so tired that I literally walked into the house, went to one of the rooms, lied down on one of the matresses on the floor, and fell asleep. It was crazy. And we had to put all the technical stuff together to make things even crazier. So, that's where things start. 

Then on Tuesday night we had 3 companionships come to our house at around 6. They stayed the night with us so we could get up early and renew their visas, which went fine. But on Wednesday we found out, one within minutes of the other, that 2 elders would be going home. We had to get their flights, travel plans, and all other logicstic stuff put together right away. It was so crazy. And that on top of all the other stuff we had to be doing! On Wednesday, one elder stayed at our house who went home for health reasons (he had a year out). Then on Thursday, the other one stayed at our house, who went home for disobedience (he had about 6 months and is crazy). We had to wake up at 2am to get him in the taxi and everything. It was so crazy!!! So needless to say I'm totally exhausted. Yesterday we slept in till like 7:30 and then we had to get up and get to the office, and today we shut the window and literally slept in until 11:30 (deserved p day rest). I still feel really destroyed but at least maybe a little better.

However, we've had some time for work this week. On Wednesday night we were invited by a sister from the church to eat dinner at her house. We had in mind that we had totally scored but what was even better was that she also invited her nephew and his girlfriend who aren't members of the church. I knew we had to teach them and when we were done with dinner I asked if we could leave a message and I read from Isaiah 53 about Jesus Christ, and then I felt strongly that I needed to teach about the restoration so I explained pretty breifly about the primitive church and how it was destroyed and then restored through Joseph Smith. We invited them to read the Book of Mormon and pray about our message. It was so awesome! A very spirtual lesson, and one of the best we've had in a long time because it's so hard to find time to leave the office and teach. 

I'm planning on sending pictures of our week when my companion sends them to me. We've been getting along better more or less which is so great. The 3rd dude is not here yet but hoping he gets here soon. Seems like President might wait till the end of the transfer. As far as home stuff goes, Disneyland sounds like a lot of fun. I'm really jealous honestly. Só vai! You had mentioned about not being in Denver for Christmas, I'm sad about it, but time is passing so dang fast now that soon enough I'll be at home anyway. I'm getting to the point where man I want to be at home but man I never want to leave. I love this mission. I'm so grateful for everything I've learned and am learning here. I've been so blessed by the Lord through Brazil and a part of my heart will always be here, no matter what. It's a second home to me.

Some Spiritual Thoughts And Impressions I've had this week too: I think my favorite was when I was reading in the very beginning of 1 Nephi (I finished the Book of Mormon recently) about when an angel appears to Laman and gang and tells them that if they go up to Jerusalem God will deliver Laban into their hands. I thought it was so interesting (and I had never thought about it in quite this way) that a heavenly messenger had personally guaranteed success to them and Laman still chose not to believe. Even though they had seen and heard, they needed to have faith. Well I sure haven't seen an angel that I know of, but the Lord has promised me the same way that if I continue faithfully I will be ok and that everything is going well. When I took the sacrament this Sunday I felt the Spirit confirm to me that I am doing a great job. I felt like the Lord emphatically wanted to impress that on my mind and heart, and I hadn't even been praying about it. I'm not perfect but I can just like Nephi choose to have faith in the Lord's promises or not. The promise is not what makes the difference, it's our faith in it, so I am going to live according to what the Lord has said to me, which I always say but which I feel like is becoming clearer and more important in my mind. Even when it seems like everything around me is going to heck I just have to follow what I know. The mists of darkness are really thick sometimes but that simply doesn't change what the Lord has said and promised. 

LOVE YOU MOM!!!! YOU'RE THE BEST!!!! I hope you have a great week and I can't wait to hear from you!!!!! <3
Elder Sederholm

Saturday, November 4, 2017

P-day 59: Day 417 - "I came on my mission and got the spiritual and emotional bagulho kicked out of me."

Hellooooo,

Well I hope you guys are doing good. It was great to read your letters. I appreciate them every week. I am insanely jealous of the Carpenter show, which sounds like it was awesome, and Mom, I am so glad to hear that you're loving your new job. Sounds like you chose well. I'm thrilled! I get so happy when I hear you guys are doing well.

This week passed by fast -- it seems like I was just writing my last letter to you guys. It has been a hard week but there have been surprising blessings along the way.

This letter is gonna be long. I guess you guys probably like reading my letters but just a heads up, and sorry about that...

To start things off, this week was transfers, so we worked really hard to get everything into place. It was really busy. We worked a lot. It wasn't anything real special, there was just a lot to do. Everything ended up falling into place for the most part though, which was nice. I'm grateful for the way the work in the office has been going. We do our part and it gets done. 

I've seen a lot of my friends on the mission this week which has been so nice. Elder Guimarães got transferred back to Piracicaba (remember, my companion in Avaré) and he's been having a kind of hard time lately so we've been talking a lot and it's been really great to see him. He's going home this transfer, then in March he's going to the United States. He already has his plane ticket!

On Wednesday, we had a zone conference, and afterwards we were walking to the office and my companion started to really open up to me. He said he had been feeling really sad for no reason and that he had been so stressed that he had been dreaming about his work and he felt like he couldn't get away from it and he needed help. Then he sent a text to President and asked for him to come give him an interview.

I had a really powerful experience in that moment. I felt my attitude toward my companion change, where I suddenly felt this love and concern for him, and I had a really powerful spiritual impression, like God was saying to me "I love him too." God knows that both of us really need help right now and is putting His plan in motion to help both of us. I thought that was so amazing. That really was the turning point of my week and a very inspiring and touching moment for me personally. It changed my perspective. 

Well, President Bangerter ended up coming and interviewing us. I was very honest and clear with him and told him about the experience I just wrote about. I also talked to him about what I want to get out of my mission and my worry that I feel sometimes that I won't do a good job. I even cried! (a little bit) Add that to my short list of people I've cried in front of. Well he was very kind and also very honest with me. We had a really good conversation. He said he thinks that I'm wonderful and doing a great job. He also said I'm doing a good job of working with my companion. I guess if your priesthood leader can authoritatively say that then you're on the right track. For me though the best part about the whole thing was that I didn't need him to say that to know it. Dad, ever since you sent me that talk a couple weeks ago I have been thinking a lot about the idea of standing confidentely in God's presence and how He wants that of us. These days, things have been starting to add up in my head a lot more. If God has given me so much reassurance, and I believe (and I have no doubt) that those feelings are from Him, then that's real! I can trust Him when He says "you're doing a great job" or "it's gonna be ok." I need to be humble of course but that doesn't mean I need to constantly feel guilty for my imperfections and be hard on myself. That is my tendency but I try hard to fight it. And I felt really confident and at ease with President Bangerter. He's not God, but I guess he's my priesthood link between me and God, so in an interview setting I think there is a similar idea. When I have feelings of self-doubt I can with confidence look to the feelings God has given me from time to time and know that I have His approval even if I'm not in the middle of a spiritual experience or something. So that was a wonderful experience. 

And (drumroll please) some BIG news from the interviews is that President is going to bring another elder to the office to help divide the the workload. We're gonna be in a trio! We don't know who it'll be yet, or if it's gonna be now or at the end of the transfer, but it's a sure thing. It'll be really interesting to see who it is. I know that whatever happens I'll be ok. It's all part of the mission experience.

Right before I came on my mission I felt so happy and confident in my sphere. I was comfortable and I knew what I was doing pretty much all the time. It was so nice! Then I came on my mission and got the spiritual and emotional bagulho kicked out of me. Especially lately as you know I have been passing through a really hard, and for me, a dark time. Sometimes it has felt so hard lately that it seems like there is no end. With that thought in mind I decided to kill my lunch hour a few days ago watching a face2face with Elder Holland. At the very end he bore his testimony and talked about three titles for Jesus Christ. The first one is the bright and morning star, and said that no matter how long your night is, and even if for many weeks you feel like there will be no sunrise, spiritually speaking, it will come with as much certainty as the sun will actually rise. That touched me. I felt so comforted in that moment -- the Spirit washed over me and I felt so loved. I even cried a little bit. (I guess I have cried a few times this week.) But it was so touching to me to feel the Spirit confirm that at some point with a certainty I will feel comfortable and confident and in my element even though right now there are a lot of trials and that makes me feel weaker. 

This morning I was reflecting on my mission, and I felt deeply grateful for my blessings. Time after time, it seems like I pass through something so hard I don't know how I'm gonna make it, and then through the grace of God I make it, and looking back I realize I've gained priceless spiritual knowledge I maybe never could have gotten another way. That's been the pattern for my whole mission. I don't always understand all my trials, but with time things usually start to make more sense. I guess God has been trying to teach me something, and I feel like I've been learning it. I'm only left to just feel gratitude and awe for having this instructive experience. 

Anyway, I've written a lot, mostly because I like to hear myself talk, even if it's just in my head, but these have been the best and most meaningful experiences I've had this week. Thanks for being so great and for always loving me and helping me out. This is sure to be another great week! I'll let you guys know what happens. I'll take pictures too... sorry about that!! There just isn't that much to take pictures of here, and I'm lazy, so...

Thanks so much! LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great week!!!!! 

Elder Sederholm

Saturday, October 28, 2017

P-day 58: Day 410 - "'You are in my hands.'"

Hey guys,

Thanks for your letters. Dad I love your monkey costume. [Insert: picture of Carl in monkey costume...]


I think it's a good choice. Mom, I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying your new job. I think it's an awesome fit for you, and I'm sure you're doing great. It was good to hear from you guys. It's been kind of a crazy week, but a good one. 

One tender mercy has been the senior couple that works with us in the office. I think they can tell I've been a little more stressed and they have been nice to me in little ways. I really appreciate that.

This week I have been trying to focus more and pray more for other people instead of just myself. I find when I pray for others I don't feel too bad. I need help all the time from the Lord but sometimes taking the focus off of me prevents me from taking things too seriously. However I have been praying a LOT this week and seeking answers to questions about my mission, how I can improve, what the Lord thinks of me, and so on. 

In the middle of the week I saw the talk you sent, Dad. I read it and thought about it. The part that really stuck out to me is at the very end, when he promises that we can feel that we are pleasing to God in spite of our shortcomings. I decided to "take the challenge" and I was able to feel that peace. At the beginning of that talk the guy asks some questions and I decided to write down my answers to all of them, and all of the answers were pretty sad. So I've been thinking about that, how when I feel God's approval I can trust it, that when He says "you're doing a good job" in a sense I can carry myself as if it were true! I have felt my testimony increase greatly this week in the fact that in a very real way God is with me, that I am in His hands. One morning I was praying and I asked God very sincerely if He has been guiding me all this time or if I have just been deceiving and making a fool of myself. Shortly thereafter I felt the Spirit very strongly testify this truth - "you are in my hands."

I've been pondering the idea of enduring well, too. I think the only thing worse than having a hard time on my mission would be having a hard time and not getting anything out of it. I've been praying a little more fervently to ask for help enduring well, and that I can learn (and know what I can learn) from every situation. 

Sorry I don't have any pictures this week. But here is a picture that represents me!

Inline image 1

Did you know the last time I beat Majora's Mask, I was 11? Just a fun fact... I am planning on beating it again though.

Sorry I don't have much else to say. That's about how my week has been. Thanks for being great, for writing me every week and supporting me. Hope you guys have a great week!! Take pictures!!! (especially at the Carpenter show)

Love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Sederholm

Saturday, October 21, 2017

P-day 57: Day 403 - "I know with all my heart that He is helping me to be better than I can be alone."

Hey guys!!

Good to talk to you again. This has been quite a week. One of the hardest in a really long time. I'm doing good though. Here in the office stuff is pretty normal, I've just been doing my thing like always and trying my best. On Sunday we went and visited that family I mentioned last week again and taught them and invited them to be baptized. We had kind of a lukewarm response :( but it's nothing I'm not used to. We will keep trying. They are a really awesome family and they invited us to go back which I guess is a good sign! 

This morning we played frisbee golf with President Bangerter and the assistants again and it was really fun. I broke my record and only went 21 over par today. (President came over to me and asked, "you spent more time with piano than baseball as a kid didn't you?") Well what can I say. The funniest and kinda stupid thing that happened is that I started running after my frisbee going down a hill and at the bottom there was this cement path and I jumped kinda farther than I meant to and fell and skinned my knees. I even ripped holes in some used sweats I found the other day. Forget 17 again, I'm 6 again. But like I said we had a really good time.

So I should probably mention why this week was hard. I have been having a really hard time with anxiety. On Tuesday and Wednesday at night I felt really bad anxiety and on Thursday the whole day basically. It was really bad, probably the worst it's been since the very beginning of my mission. I'm not exactly sure why but I think it could be related to a few things, like my change of pace being here in the office. I have had such a hard time pushing out negative and unwanted thoughts. I have been praying so much for help and so on. It's just that so many feelings of failure and fear about the future and worry about the past have been pushing themselves into my brain and it is paralyzing. I started this word document on this computer where when I get really bad I just dump all my thoughts and follow them a little bit to try to beat them with logic. You know, beating anxious thoughts at their own game haha. On Tuesday I think I read a talk by Neal A. Maxwell I really was touched by called "Encircled in the Arms of His Love" or something. I was praying so hard to know what I could do to be a better missionary and person and I had the impression while reading this talk that what God was wanting for me was to exercise more faith in His promises and have more hope for the future. Then on Thursday I was really thinking about it and writing down my feelings and had again the strong impression that my anxiety is a part of life sometimes and it comes and goes, but that is not an excuse for me, in this case especially, to doubt what I have already felt from the Spirit and been promissed in priesthood blessings. I decided to make a comittment to God to more actively exercise faith in His promises and "hush my fears" just like David A. Bednar talked about a while back. That actually helped me a lot and the last couple of days I've felt some anxiety but it has not dominated my thoughts any more. A lot of my worrying is about my mission, if I've done enough, if I'm doing enough, if I'll do enough, if I've somehow failed or am failing, and based on what I know and have felt, I'm actually doing ok and God is proud of me. So I've actively put those fears to rest and have been feeling a lot better. 

I'm fasting today and asking for more help in everything. I really feel that God loves me. I was saying a prayer a few minutes ago actually and felt really strongly the love God has for me. I also have felt so strongly in my life this week the presence of His grace. I can feel and I know with all my heart that He is helping me to be better than I can be alone, that He is giving me strength, blessing me with the Spirit, and giving me the space and time I need to grow while helping me through it. It's not always easy but He is so merciful and loving and if we're trying He is there every step of the way and blessing us. I love God and I want to serve Him the best way possible. I feel confident that things will work out the way they're supposed to, that I will look back at the end of my mission and feel very satisfied and grateful, and that God will continue to keep blessing me and helping me. He is with me and ever since I can remember when I call out He has been there to help me in my trials. I haven't always been perfect but He helps me to be better.

Love you guys. Mom I hope you had fun in Hawaii. I'm super jealous! And good luck with your new job. I agree with you -- I think it'll suit you and that it will be wonderful for you. Dad I hope you have a good time at your training. It is so awesome that you are an editor now!!!! I hope your classes are going well. I think you both are the best. I feel so much pride in you both and pray all the time thanking God for having both of you as parents. You guys are special. Don't let my worries get you guys down. Know that above all I am being protected and blessed always and that I'm having the experiences I'm supposed to be having.

Love you guys tons!!!!!!!!! Have a great week!!!!!!!!!!
Beijos,
Elder Sederholm


Saturday, October 14, 2017

P-day 56: Day 396 - "I am that same God who has always been with you since the beginning."

Hello parents!

I don't even remember what's happened this week! It's been kinda crazy, and good. I have been feeling pretty anxious from time to time but it's been a lot more under control for sure. I'm doing good. Last Sunday, we visited the family of some recent converts that live here and it was really nice. We are going to be working with them. The dad has been going to church for over a month and we feel like that family really has a lot of potential. We're excited to get to work and so on. Stuff in the office has been normal. It's actually been a little bit calmer the last couple days because we're in between big events right now but pretty soon stuff is gonna start heating up again with the transfer. We're excited about that! It's good when there's a lot to do but of course it's nice when things are a little chiller as well.

I've been feeling a little stressed this week which is normal. It's all just normal worries so I'm trying to take it in stride. Sometimes I think there are certain blessings I want and for a long time I've felt like they'll come and have even been told they'll come in priesthood blessings and so on, but then they don't come, and lately I've been feeling tempted to lose faith in these promised blessings. I've been praying for strenth. God has really been blessing me too. I had a spiritual experience on Thursday. I had been worrying about whether I had been doing enough. I worry about that all the time. While sorting out our cell phone stock I was listening to some hymns (and detail, my companion was in the other room using the phone) and "How Firm a Foundation" came on. You guys are probably tired of hearing this story because this is like the tenth time this has happened but I'm not making this up haha, but I wasn't even really paying attention and then I started to feel the Spirit really strongly. I felt really settled in that moment. I had the impression that I just need to do my thing, to keep putting in my best efforts, and that things will work out, and that things are only going to get better from here on out. It was almost like God was saying to me: "This is where it gets good. Just keep going, you can do it. I am that same God who has always been with you since the beginning. I love you." I don't know why God is so merciful. I definitely don't merit it and I don't know if I ever will -- maybe it would even be presumptuous to say I could merit it. But He gives His love to us anyway and helps us. I think about what Jeffery R. Holland said that one time about how God doesn't just give His blessings to those who keep all the commandments but to those who strive to do so. Well, I'm definitely striving. God absolutely does not want us to give up. I watched the Face2Face that happened this week and really liked what one guy said. He said he feels like sometimes God is just happy if we say, "I want to try." If that's the most we can muster up, He accepts it. You guys know me and how I am and I find that very comforting. I want to be better than I am, and I've been feeling pretty sad because there are so many things about myself that I just wish were different, and for all my efforts I just don't get there, and sometimes it seems like I'm actually further away than I used to be, but I think when I start to compare myself to others it gets worse. I find when I focus my sights on God I feel better and it's easier for me to do my best, avoid discouragement, and keep going. I guess that in other words, if I say, "man I wish I was like so and so," or "I wish I was like that, or had that talent," or so on, I get discouraged. But when I say "I felt the Spirit confirm to me today that God is proud of me and that He thinks I'm doing a good job," or "I may not be perfect, but I am sure I'm on the right path," or "God has promised me blessings so I shouldn't be discouraged," I feel better. I feel more motivated and positive too.

This week I started to feel really discouraged. Especially yesterday was really hard for me and I began to feel really discouraged, just thinking that nothing's ever gonna work out, that my service is pointless and so on. Oddly, I don't think God really measures the value of our service by the outward results. Isn't that weird? We talk so much about baptism and these types of things here but I'm convinced that if we served with all our hearts and didn't baptize anyone, God would be proud of us anyway. And He wouldn't see us as failures. I want SO BADLY to just have one opportunity -- just one -- to meet someone, teach them about the church, see that light come on in their eyes like everyone talks about, and baptize that person and see them stay active and give service and help others. I don't really feel like I've had that chance yet. I want that and when I see others, especially people I admire, who have that chance, I feel so far away from where I want to be. It's not for lack of trying either -- I pray for our investigators, I serve them, I love them sincerely, I teach them, and I just don't get it. I would even just be happy to have made a difference in someone's life, and I feel like I haven't made a significant impact on very many people. That is discouraging sometimes, and it wears me down a little bit, but I think what God wants me to realize is that while it's a wonderful thing to be able to meet and baptize someone, it's not the ultimate end goal. If it were, the missionaries who didn't baptize would be defined as failures. They would have failed. But in Preach My Gospel, the definition of success is different. And in my heart I know God does not think I'm a failure. I don't know why certain blessings are being withheld for the present but I'm officially ok with it. I have faith in God. He has never failed me or left me alone, and like it says in the scriptures He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The one thing He askes of me is that I do my best, that I do it consistently, and that I repent when I get off track. The gospel has not changed for me just because I'm a missionary. 

Anyway, that kind of stuff has been on my mind this week. Yesterday I had a funny and really neat experience. I was praying last night that we could just find someone to teach that would accept the gospel. I prayed really really hard. A little while later we were trying to get in touch with some investigators and were sitting at a bus stop. We weren't able to get through to the family and we were hungry so we went to a restaurant close by. I said to my companion, "Today we're gonna find someone sweet and super elect that we'll be able to baptize." My companion laughed and said, "yeah, this person's gonna come up to us and say, man, I love your church and I want to get baptized, along with my whole family." Well we went to the restaurant and the lady who took our order asked us what we wanted, and then she stopped, looked at us, and said, "you know, I just love your church! I went there one time and thought it was so amazing! I've always wanted to go back!" I got chills. We marked an appointment with her this Tuesday! I had also been praying yesterday that I could have more faith in God's promises and that (is this pharasiacal?) I could just see a little bit of what God had in store for us, like a little blessing in terms of a new investigator or something. So that was a really neat and spiritual experience. I'm just so grateful to be a missionary. It's making me a better person, I think, and I definitely feel like I've been blessed to draw closer to God during this time. I'm excited to see what's coming next!

Love you guys. Hope you (Mom) are having fun in Hawaii (thanks for the pictures!! Jealous!!!), and that you (Dad) are doing good at home -- it sounds like you have a lot of responsibilites and a lot going on, but I know you're rocking it and will continue to do a great job. You got this. Thanks for the emails too. Dad I really enjoyed your suggestions and like the scriptures you sent me. You guys are great and really make this a lot easier on me too. This had never come into my mind before my mission really but I'm so grateful to have been born in a family strong in the church with two active member parents. So many of the missionaries here are recent converts and the only members in their family, and I can't even imagine what it would be like to be the only member in my family. I think it would be so hard. So thanks for being great and for being you. I owe you guys. (understatement of the year award)

Love you guys so much! Have a great week!!!!!
Elder Sederholm

p.s. I took pictures this week!

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A fun member family that we met this week. The wife made brigadeiro, which is something I'm gonna teach you guys how to make. It's basically chocolate with... stuff. It's so good.

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I literally bought this just so that I could take the picture. "What do you call a quarter-pounder with cheese..."

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Me feeling really happy. This was the first time I've eaten at McDonald's in Brazil ever, and I've been here a year, so I'm a little embarrassed. If you're wondering, it's exactly like in the US, just a little more expensive.

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My companion was hungrier than me I guess! I've been getting a little fat. I've already gained 8 pounds!!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

P-day 55: Day 389 - "Me with a frog..."

I'm so far behind on these posts, I'm not even going to comment on the emails. Nathanael is doing great. Enjoy his letters!

HELLOOOOO!!!!!

Mom I can't believe you're in Hawaii and Dad I can't believe you're in Georgia. Have fun, and take lots of pictures!!!


It was so good to get your letters like always. I miss you guys tons. I'll start off with the bad news which is that my anxiety has been bad this week. I haven't felt this anxious in a long time, probably not since the beginning of my mission. So that was kinda stressful, but to make a long story short I asked my companion for a blessing and afterwards I had this deep sense of peace come over me that stuck with me (that was on Wednesday) and I feel much better now. I think I've been blessed to overcome that particular hurdle which is great. It wasn't pleasant but like Yolanda I'm cool.


Mom this paragraph in your email literally made me burst into tears. I didn't think I was capable of doing that but I was literally not crying one moment and the next moment I was full-on crying. It was different: 


"It's been really fun to read your last few letters. You're learning such good things. Sometimes I think that the Lord is withholding opportunities for you to baptize because he wanted you to learn the things you've been learning. It reminds me of the mission president's seminar talk when (I can't remember who) said that missionaries will only have baptisms if the Lord blesses them with baptisms and that it isn't based on obedience, it's subject to the will of the Lord. Just think if he had blessed you with lots of baptisms, you wouldn't have struggled and probably wouldn't have reached out to him so fervently. And you wouldn't have grown so much. He's really good at knowing exactly what we need."


I've been feeling down about my small number of baptisms and that's exactly what I needed to hear. The Lord really knows us and what we need. Just wanted to thank you for reminding me of that.


I also (Mom) really enjoyed what you said at the very beginning. [From my letter: I'm so excited to share this with you! I shared the part of your last letter where you talk about the Face2Face with a lady I work with who is in charge of Face2Face and she is meeting with Elder Renlund next week and asked if she could share your comments with him. I told her yes. I thought you'd like to hear that. It was fun to hear how much it touched you. I'm sure he'll also be glad to hear it.] I think it's awesome that she's gonna share what I said. I really feel like the face2face events are inspired. I've watched 3 or 4 and they are always really spiritual and (in my opinion) inspiring. I also just thought it was neat to see the love that the Renlunds have for the culture there, like he was naming different countries and cities in Africa and afterwards I saw a church report where he answered questions afterwards in French (the native language I guess) and stuff like that. I just think it's so neat the way the church goes to lengths to reach out to members in far places. It really seems to show the love that the Lord has for these people and that he would extend personally if He were there. 


I also loved general conference. I felt really inspired by the whole thing actually. Like you said Dad I felt the desire to be a better person which I feel like means a lot. I had a lot of little ideas and some spiritual impressions too. It was overall a really good and inspirational experience. (I think I'm using the word "inspired" a lot today -- it's accurate though!!) Good times had by all.


We've been SUPER BUSY this week. We had a mission conference on Tuesday that we had to get all ready for, and I had a bunch of stuff to do the other days, so it's been pretty NUTS!!!!! You would not believe the way some people fill out baptismal forms. For example: leaving off the address, phone number, and confirmation date is pretty impossible right? Wrong! That's ok though, at least there are people getting baptized hahahaha.


It's hot here but we have air conditioning!!!




Me with a frog (fun fact: my companion is afraid of frogs). We saw it on the side of the street last night and I thought it was cool.

LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAVE A GREAT WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Saturday, September 30, 2017

P-day 54: Day 382 - "I felt and understood something of God's majesty..."

Now I'm caught up just in time to get another letter tomorrow!



Hellooo!!!!!!!

How are you guys doing? It was great to hear from you guys as always. I hope you're enjoying general conference. We just finished watching it (we're in the office), and our plan is to talk to our families for a little while and then go to the church, where we'll watch the "afternoon session" (the "later in the afternoon session"). Should be great! 

Here's how the week was for me -- Elder Vogl, my office trainer, left on Wednesday night for his new area, and then we were in a trio until this morning, when Elder R. Oliveira went home. His parents came and picked him up at our house and I got really trunky! I'm fine though!! Now there's just 2 of us and we're the Official Secretaries. Should be pretty exciting stuff. I've been doing so much. Since Elder Vogl left I thought I would be more stressed but it's actually been so dang awesome. I love this job (love love love love love love love love love love love love love this job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and it's fun to talk to the missionaries, especially my friends, and work with them, and I'm making new friends all the time and getting to know everyone which is fun. Now today's our P-Day. I cut my hair (Elder Loureiro, my companion, says I look like Chicken Little... ;'( it's kinda true but at least it's short!!) and we're just gonna be chill. Good times had by all. 

I'm excited to hear about your new job Mom. Have you started yet or are you going to start next week? I forget. How are you guys doing? It's always so great to talk to you.

I just now tried to send some photos within the email and explain them to you but Gmail isn't letting me, so I'll plan on telling you what everything means when I get home haha. Sorry about that!

Piracicaba is such a big city compared to the other cities I've passed through. I really like it here. Yesterday it rained for the first time in almost 2 months and it was really nice. However now it's probably gonna start raining like 3 times a week and I'll get sick of it... oh wait!! I'm gonna be inside!!! Hahahahahahahahaha I love the office!!

I've been feeling significantly more anxious the last week or so. It probably has to do a lot with all the changes that have been going on, so I'm trying to take it in stride. I'm mostly doing ok and I've been really happy honestly, just with some underlying "white noise" anxiety that has been a little stronger than normal. I really feel like I have nothing to worry about though -- I have been having so many spiritual experiences and mostly a lot of peace. Even when conference turned on I felt the Spirit so strongly. It was nice. I also really enjoyed President Uchtdorf's talk -- I thought it was really touching and neat when he said that people have a "homing instinct" just like birds and stuff. He also nailed how I feel sometimes when he said that sometimes people feel the desire to serve but feel like they don't have any significant impact on anyone. I feel that way a lot, especially lately, and especially because I haven't really baptized and that just makes me sad because I would love more than anything to be able to change as many lives as possible and just be a meaningful part of God's work, but for one reason or another I don't feel like I get there. His talk gave me a lot to think about.

I had a really powerful spiritual experience this week. It may not seem that big, I'm not sure, but for me it was really powerful. Anyway the other day we ordered pizza and I was eating dinner and decided to watch the Face2Face with Elder Renlund that they did in Africa. Don't know if you guys watched it but it was great. At the beginning a choir sings "Nearer My God to Thee" and I really liked the way they sang because it had a really "Africa" sound, and was really pretty and awesome. During the music my thoughts wandered to African tribes and how for so long, they sang tribal songs and stuff, and how now their descendants are singing hymns and are part of God's church. While I was thinking about all that I had a really strong impression from the Spirit. It was as if a voice said "I am gathering Israel." I felt and understood something of God's majesty -- there are people that no one knows exist and God knows them, loves them, and is bringing them into the Gospel, even in the deserts of Africa and stuff. I thought that was so incredible. I literally started to cry and couldn't stop. I know God is truly majestic and noble and good, but I felt that and it was so overwhelming to me. It was truly a really marvelous experience. The other thing was that I felt this desire so strongly within me, stronger than any other desire I've ever felt or maybe will ever feel, to be as big a part of that gathering process as I can be. I want to be there in Africa, you know? I want to be there loving the people and gathering the people. The good part is that I'm here in Brazil, which is also a far place, and in my ordinary way I have the same opportunity. When I think about that I get a little sad because I feel like maybe I haven't gathered very many people, but at least I'm trying to be a part of it all. These are just some thoughts I'm having. 

Anyway, love you guys. We'll have some time to chat and I can't wait! Hope you are doing good!!!! LOVE YOU!!!!!

Elder Sederholm

Saturday, September 23, 2017

P-day 53: Day 375 - "I'm not the same person that I was when I left."

This was a great letter. It's fun that Nathanael is recognizing his own growth. I love that he understands that Heavenly Father will be his biggest support. It's not about being perfect, it's about progression. Here's a quote that I love from President Henry B. Eyring that describes what I'm seeing in Nathanael:


I'm also going to include some pictures that Nathanael has shared with us over the last few weeks.




Hello!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's so good to hear from you guys!!!!!! I loved reading your emails this week. Thanks so much as always. A couple things right away--

Dad, it must feel good to have been released, I guess. I bet you miss it though. Your office looks SO GOOD now! I'm happy for you. I'm sorry you've been more stressed than usual. I've been a little more stressed than usual this week, I think because I'm adjusting to the office lifestyle which is totally different from what I'm used to. Hang in there. I'm happy that you got to meet Tad Williams. Is it the first time you met him? I remember that you really liked his books. I bet that was a super fun experience.

Mom, I'm glad the surgery went well. Hope you're feeling good. I CAN'T BELIEVE another primary program is coming again. It literally seems like you were just telling me in your letters about the last one. I bet it's gonna be so awesome. Congrats on your new job, I'm excited for you to start, and it sounds like where you're gonna work is super rad. You are lucky. I'm jealous that you are together with your family down there. I miss you all. By the way, I loved that photo you took in that giant chair at Cornbelly's. It's exactly like that photo we took there several years ago, if you remember that. Sorry that you're not gonna have a fall, but enjoy the cool weather. It's been over 100 degrees here the last few days and we're in spring still. Brazil!

Sorry, but I forgot my camera and so I can't send any pictures to you. I feel bad about that. I will ASAP though. This week what have I been doing? I have answered the phone about 100 times, I've made like 200 phone calls, I've filled out forms, I've printed stuff, sent emails, and ran around. It's been pretty exciting. The week passed pretty slowly but fast at the same time. It's a lot of adjustment, but I'm loving my new calling. I hope I can stay here for a long time. I'm in the Lord's hands though. Papa said something in his email that I really liked, that God's putting me where He's putting me to help me become more like Him. That's the ultimate goal I guess, and that made me feel really good and put things into perspective. Sometimes I wonder why God wanted me here and I've been thinking about that and praying about it and yesterday I had a strong impression to let the "why" go and focus on where I've been called to serve. I think that's a good idea. There are so many service opportunities here (it seems like I've never had so many opportunities to serve!), which is just simply a blessing. It's wonderful.

I'm a little nervous about next week, because Elder Vogl (my companion and current executive secretary, who's training me) is gonna leave and I'll be here more or less on my own. However there is a senior couple here who knows how to do a lot of this stuff as well and they'll be able to help me out. I'm nervous but not too worried. It'll be fine.

You guys know that I loved my last area, but that I didn't always feel like I was handling all my trials in the best way and that I worried a lot about what God thought of my actions. Well I was reading an article yesterday from an old Ensign by President Eyring that talks about enduring well, and in it it says something about how in our trials we have to look to Christ, and I thought back on my experiences in Matão. If I did one thing I turned to God, I prayed like crazy, and tried as hard as I could to do what's right. I felt the Spirit confirm to me that God was proud of my efforts, even if I didn't necessarily always get it right, because I never forgot the most important thing which was that I turned to Him during that and allowed Him to help me. That was really comforting to me.

Missions are full of great experiences! It's not like I thought it would be, but my mission has forever changed my life. My testimony, which was real to me before my mission, has blessedly become stronger and vivid. I've drawn closer and closer to God, and I've had countless opportunities to feel Him giving me counsel and strength. I'm not the same person that I was when I left. In other words, it's been a priceless and life-changing experience. I feel so grateful for that. I know that this truly is my mission and that God knows what I needed and need.

Yeah! Can't wait to talk to you guys. By the way, I had a dream that you guys came and visited me here on my mission. It was really awesome, but don't do that please because I'll get trunky haha. Love you guys.

Elder Sederholm

Saturday, September 16, 2017

P-day 52: Day 368 - "The house is really big and at least for now it smells good..."

I'm a total slacker and am 3 weeks behind on this. So without further ado...

Hello!,

I know you guys must be wondering why I'm writing you on a Saturday, so I have some news. I was transferred yesterday to Piracicaba and I'm being trained to be the new executive secretary of the mission. So my P-Days are Saturdays now. I got a phone call from President Bangerter on Wednesday night, I had Thursday to say goodbye to people and then I left Friday morning. It's all happened really fast and has been super crazy. I think basically the last thing I expected to happen to me with 1 year was to get transferred to the mission office, but there you go. My new companion is Elder Vogl, from Idaho, and when he finishes training me I'll be with Elder Loreiro from Goiás (Brazil). Everything in secretary life is totally different from being in the mission field -- the schedule, a lot of the rules, obviously what I do, and so on. The good news is that I'll still have some time to do proselyting like normal, at night from 6-9 most days of the week. I'm trying to stay positive, because this change has me slightly bummed out. I was thinking about it on Wednesday night and said a prayer and felt like it's right. I'm not really sure why on earth I'm here, but I guess it seems to be God's will so I'm gonna try to face it with a positive attitude.

Today's kinda weird because I don't have any emails!

Some of the perks from being in the mission office include: I can pick up my packages and letters the day they arrive; I'll spend the summer in Brazil in an air conditioned room, which is great (by the way, the chances are high that I'll only leave here when I have almost a year and seven months -- in March or April -- so I'll literally spend the whole summer here probably); the other guys here are awesome; the house is really big and at least for now it smells good; I'll get to know pretty much everyone on the mission; I'll be able to give trainings to new missionaries that are arriving, and to the whole mission during the multizonas; and I get to have a big desk and my own computer. I've heard this job can be super stressful but I think I'm more or less used to that, I hope. So it seems like everything here is pretty great. I hope you guys are at home so we can chat. 

I got really sad when I said goodbye to everyone on Thursday. That day was kinda rough. I loved being in Matão, and I love the people there and being with them. It literally seems like I just got there, and I feel almost like I was pulled out so fast that I didn't get a chance to really enjoy it. I don't know. It was kind of a bummer to me. It'll be all right though hahaha.

Miss you guys. I hope you all had fun with Grandma and Papa and Cassie. Are they still there? Send pictures!
Love you!

Elder Sederholm

Monday, September 11, 2017

P-day 51: Day 363 - "I feel like when it ends I'll be caught by surprise."

So good to hear from Nathanael! I can't believe it's been a year. How can time go so fast and drag all at the same time? I'm super proud of the person Nathanael is.

Who knows what crazy things they are up to in these pictures but...




Hey!

What a week! This week has kind of had pros and cons. Like always, right? Some of the good things:

I have a year!!! It's kind of awesome, and also kinda freaky! I feel like it's passing so much faster than I thought it would. I've kinda talked about that feeling already, but it's strange. I feel like when it ends I'll be caught by surprise.

Our Sunday was good. We unfortunately didn't have too many people in church, but I had another really good experience taking the sacrament. When I took it I felt such a feeling of peace, forgiveness and renewal. I heard Elder Holland say in a video that the sacrament is the most dramatic way we can weekly show God that we want to follow Him (or something like that). I'm kind of a dramatic guy so I like that a lot! I think I'm learning that life can be stressful but if God in the little quiet moments from time to time gives us feelings of peace and encouragement, we're on the right track and can relax.

I fasted this week. I had a hard couple of days and decided I needed an extra boost. (And I forgot to fast on fast Sunday. It was convenient actually.) I had a lot of worrying going on and I feel like I was blessed as a result of that fast to have a few really good ideas that comforted me. I was thinking about times in my life where I felt like I didn't know what to do, and sometimes I feel feelings of peace, like everything's gonna be all right, but I don't feel specific guidance or an answer to a really hard question, which can be frustrating. I was reading back and a while ago I wrote in my journal, "what does it mean when I pray saying 'what should I do?' and the overwhelming answer is, 'you're gonna be fine?'" But I was thinking about that during my fast and it all made a lot more sense to me. I think sometimes God leaves things to us, assures us that no matter what we'll come out on the other end ok, and lets us struggle and use our agency and try our hardest to figure things out, and in that process we grow. When we've grown the way He wanted, we can move on. I think that more or less makes sense. At least that's how it's been in my life. So that was good news for me.

So transfers are actually gonna be next week, but this week my companion goes home and I'll be in a trio with the other companionship, which should be sort of crazy and sort of good, I hope. I've really enjoyed being with Elder Andrade. He's taught me a lot and we've been able to have really good union in our companionship which I'm happy about.

So that's been our week. Thanks guys, and I can't wait to talk to you!!!
Elder Sederholm

Monday, September 4, 2017

P-day 50: Day 356 - "Every day when I wake up it smells just like Grandma's house."

Another great letter from Nathanael! He's working hard. Enjoy!


How are you guys? I hope it's been a good week. I've been doing my best and I had good experiences every day. I think the best parts of the week were Saturday, when the other guys' investigator, Thiago, was baptized, and Sunday at church. We were blessed to have a few investigators at church and also have some new members moving in, and our ward is starting to grow more and more!! Super awesome.

Dad I liked that article you talked about. It's good stuff. I've been thinking about that same kinda stuff. You both know I worry a lot, and even with a lot of heavenly assurance I tend to doubt myself and my efforts. I had a really good experience at church this Sunday. I had been thinking a lot about my mission and had been feeling, like I sometimes feel, like everything I've done has been pointless, that there's not even any reason for me to be here. Then at the beginning of sacrament meeting we were singing the hymn "Come, Come, Ye Saints" and I felt the Spirit so strongly. It felt like I was getting a giant hug. In that moment I felt without a doubt that everything that's happened on my mission is not pointless, that God has a purpose and a plan, and that everything is going very well and in the end will be well. That was so comforting to me. God is really merciful. I don't deserve so much reassurance, nor do I deserve these powerful spiritual experiences that I'm blessed with. He's simply kind in a very grand and personal way. You know what I mean. I felt so good for hours after that experience. Up until now my mission has been made up of these little and powerful moments. I thought my mission would be a little different but I know that God's promises will be fulfilled, so I should just do my thing. He wants me to be patient. I'm still tired (uggghhhhh.....) and whatever but at least I can build off of all that. 

I'm a little trunky these days. I think it's because the weather's changing and every day when I wake up it smells just like Grandma's house. I'm not joking, it's actually really weird and it's messing with my head!!! Also Mom I had a dream that we were together for the first time in a while, except the dream was really stupid. We were at a career fair and I was talking about physics, but you could see that I was doing a really bad job, and you said, "you know, I really think you should look into cooking. You're a terrible cook and need to learn anyway, so it would be a better career choice anyway." Then I woke up. Thanks for the advice... but it's ok because last night I dreamed that I was with Captain Moroni and he was explaining the war chapters to me, so that was pretty cool. It all evens out...

Love you guys. Can't wait to chat! By the way, happy Labor Day. Time is passing so fast, I can't believe it. 

Elder Sederholm