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

Monday, August 28, 2017

P-day 49: Day 349 - "It's not like I'm gonna trade my birthright for a bowl of soup."

Here's Nathanael's letter! He sounds like he's figuring things out. To me, it felt like he is learning how to be at peace with his progress and growth. I like that.

Enjoy!


I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT ADAM PACKER'S GOING TO BRAZIL!!!! THAT'S SO STINKING EXCITING!!!!!!!!!! Anyway

Hey guys!!! Thanks for the emails like always!! Dad it sounds like it's been a super eventful and crazy week, and just wanted to say congratulations on everything. Lots of opportunities are coming your way, and that's gonna be really good for you I'm sure. I'm excited for you. 

It's been a good and pretty uneventful week. I've had lots of little personal spiritual experiences which has been an extra blessing for me. The work was kinda slow this week and we didn't make that much progress, but lately I've been really blessed to notice more and more God's presence in my life. I really feel like He's by my side in everything. I think I'm learning just a little bit more about how to be patient. I think in the past I've thought from time to time that when things weren't going 100% in my life, it was because of something wrong that I was doing, or that God had abandoned me, or some combination of the two. But I'm starting to feel a growing trust in the Lord's promises. He's promised me so many blessings in so many different ways and at different times, and if I'm doing my best and striving to do what I need to do, no matter what circumstance I find myself in, it's not like I'm gonna trade my birthright for a bowl of soup. I'm not perfect, but the Lord doesn't need me to be or He would have sent an angel or something to do the mission instead of me, haha. Just some thoughts I've been having. I feel really blessed to see a growing faith and hope in my life. I'm not perfect at being patient by a long shot but I'm trying to do better, and it's definitely been my focus lately. It'll work out.

I hope you guys are doing well. It sure sounds like you are from your emails. By the way (not like I'm counting...), (I'm really not counting. It's just that I like numbers and I can't help not counting!), today is day 351 of 702. In other words, I'm at exactly the halfway mark of my mission today. I feel kinda weird.

Love you guys. Can't wait to talk soon.

-Elder Sederholm

Monday, August 21, 2017

P-day 48: Day 342 - "I can...try to do a little better every day, and that's enough."

There's something a little different about Nathanael's letter this week. There's a maturity of someone who's learned a little more about himself; a little more settled, confident, self-assured. I'm proud of him for what he is doing and where he is.





Enjoy his letter!

Hey guys,

Hope it's been a good week for you guys. I'm jealous about the eclipse stuff. With or without you guys, I would be driving up to Wyoming if I was there haha. I actually knew about the eclipse back in 2015, at which point I realized that I would be on my mission in 2017. #thesacrifices. It's worth it, but a bummer!

Things here are pretty good and normal. Mission life is mission life. I get a little discouraged sometimes like you guys know but I'm also ok. I had a good experience yesterday. I've been feeling guilty because I'm always really conscious of many of the ways I fall short, and during the sacrament I felt like the Lord was telling me He forgives me. I felt like I think Enos felt when he said, "Lord, how is it done?" I felt like this because I'm so imperfect, because I'm always messing up, and it just seems like the Lord is too merciful sometimes. But I think that's what the Lord wanted me to take away from that -- that He forgave and forgives me, and that I can just do my thing, try to do a little better every day, and that's enough.

I've had a hard time sleeping this last week, so I've been a little more tired than normal. That's ok though. Also, I found out to my relief that Utah State starts on August 27th next year so I will have like a week and a half to relax before going back to school. Glory hallelujah. That's a random detail, but I had been thinking that it would start on August 20th. Anyway.

As far as mission stuff goes, our investigator Edson went to church again. I don't really know how to help him but at least he's going to church, and wants to keep going. We also had 3 family members of a return missionary that got back last week. We're gonna teach them, which should be cool.

I enjoyed reading your letters this week. There's no quick solution. Sometimes hard is just hard. Elder Bednar talks about how revelation comes in two ways -- it can come as if it were a light being turned on and off, and it can come like the light of a rising sun, in an almost imperceptable way. I think growth is the same way, that usually growth is basically imperceptable and that it comes really slow. When I think about who I was a year ago, right before my mission, I realize that I was a lot different and that I've grown a lot but also that in a lot of ways I'm the same person. I think I'll be able to say that when I get home too. I thought my mission would be a miracle transformation machine where I would lose all of my weaknesses and imperfections and become angel Moroni 2 or something. Turns out that no matter how good two years is, it's still only two years. I have a lot of life to live still to learn and grow and get better. That being said though I still wanna be all I can right now. I'm trying for sure. I just get the feeling that the Lord loves me and wants to help me, and that He's forgiving when I do my thing. Life is so weird.

Love you guys. Can't wait to chat. By the way, I got my package and I loved it, especially your letters. Thanks so much for that. Dad I'm downloading Adagio for Strings right now. 

Elder Sederholm

Monday, August 14, 2017

P-day 47: Day 335 - "I've been really really blessed..."

I'm so grateful to the people in Brazil who took such good care of Nathanael on his birthday. I think I missed him more that day than on Christmas! Thank you!




Enjoy his letter!

Hey!

It was so good to get your guys' letters this week. Happy anniversary!! It sounds like you guys had fun this weekend which is awesome. Happy for you guys for sure. Missing you guys. My birthday was the worst because nothing happened, just kidding, it was awesome, members called to wish me happy birthday and at night, one of the recent converts in our ward (Vaynna) and her family threw an awesome party for me. They sang in english and decorated with zelda stuff and there was cake, and it was super awesome haha. I got a little trunky but I was ok, I felt really loved by everyone and it was just super nice. I was definitely well taken care of, and I felt like I was at home. It was cool. 

My new companion is great. He's a little tired but wants to keep working till the end. He's trying to avoid counting the days he has left, so just to bug him, I've been counting hahaha. I miss Elder Britos but I really like Elder Andrade, so it's all good. His dad's gonna come pick him up on the day I'll turn 1 year old on the mission. Yesterday was 11 months!! Today I officially have 1 year left before I go home. Crazy right? Trying not to think too much about that haha. My mission will be almost exactly 23 months. Yesterday I was sitting in church and started to kinda think back on my mission, because I've been nearing the halfway mark and so on. I still feel so far away from where I ideally want to be as a missionary but I had the idea to make a list of all the blessings that have come from my mission up until now, here is the incomplete version (I left it at home):

-a love of Brazil, including the country, culture, weather, food, people, language, music and nature
-learned portuguese
-met tons of new people and made so many friendships
-passed succesfully through hard trials and became stronger and better
-became more confident talking to people, have a strong desire to be more social and interact with people (uh, that's a miracle)
-increased physical capacity (more or less)
-increased teaching abilities and knowledge

There's more that I thought of the other day but I don't remember it all. The point is that struck me is that even though my mission hasn't necessarily been everything I wanted it to be up until this point, I've been really really blessed, more than I could have imagined before. I thought that was really neat.

As far as investigators go, we're looking for more, but we had a neat experience this week. My companion went and talked to a family that passed us on the street, and the mom said we could visit their house this week. A few days ago we went there and she wasn't home, so we went and visited someone else. On the way back to check again, we saw her on the street, and went with her family to her house. We taught her the restoration and at the end when we invited her to pray in her room in the moment, she came back crying and we invited her to be baptized on the 26th. She accepted! I don't know if that's gonna go through honestly, the family has a lot of challenges, but it was a really cool experience. 

That was pretty much my week. Love you guys!!!

Elder Sederholm

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Happy 19th birthday Nathanael!!

I'm missing Nathanael today. It's his 19th birthday and he's far from home. I'm sure that the people of Brazil will take good care of him on his special day. I love you bud!!





Monday, August 7, 2017

P-day 46: Day 328 - "I had a feeling that I would be able to make a difference in her life..."

Here is Nathanael's letter from today. No pictures to go along with it but he seems to be doing really well.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATHANAEL! WE LOVE YOU!!

Hello parents!!

It's been such a good week. I was not transferred, but my companion's leaving (he's gonna be a district leader, wow!) and I'm getting a guy who's dying this transfer, Elder Andrade. He's already been a zone leader so I'm hoping I'll be able to learn a lot from him. In other news, we have 2 investigators who are going to church and who can be baptized this transfer. One of them is Edson, the guy who talked to us on the bus, who was almost baptized this week but is still working through word of wisdom stuff, and the other is Michelle, the sister-in-law of a really awesome member, Dora, who went to church for the first time this week and is trying to decide what she wants to do.

This week went kinda slow because we haven't had much success in finding new investigators, but the good news is that what we have is doing great. This week I've been focusing on being more obedient in little ways -- for example, being more observant of schedule stuff. I've been feeling really good. Keely (remember Keely? We email back and forth every week haha) sent me a talk that her mission president gave about obedience that is excellent -- it's so good that I sent you guys a copy. I think he's exactly right, and it's been helping me a lot. I'm not perfect but I'm trying to do my best and I think that's the right balance.

I had a really powerful and special spiritual experience that I wanted to share with you guys this week. On Thursday we were with Dora and Michelle and Dora asked us to give her a blessing, because of some crazy stuff that has been happening in her apartment complex. Right before I gave the blessing, I had a feeling that I would be able to make a difference in her life in that moment. When I put my hands on her head, I felt the Spirit so strongly, and I felt so strongly the love that God has for her. I knew exactly what to bless her with, and I felt so great. I felt like in that moment God was able to work through me to bless her life in a significant way. What's even cooler is that during the blessing, I was inspired to tell her that God would defend her family and fight like a lion for her -- it was an image that appeared in my mind and the only way I felt I could communicate what God was saying. Well she started to cry, and I did too because of what I was feeling, and later she told me that in her patricarchal blessing the patriarch used the exact same phrase, and that she knew in that moment that God was mindful of her and protecting her. That was such a privelige. I don't know why God decided to use me to bless her with that experience but either way I feel really lucky and blessed to have been in the right place at the right time to have had that experience. It literally made my week, and also made me feel loved by God. It was really amazing.

That was the spiritual highlight of the week. I'm hoping the spiritual highlight of this week will be ----- BAPTISMS!!! I'll let you guys know. My birthday should be fun too, I hope. Love you guys tons. Sounds like your personal construction project is going well -- good luck with that -- and hope you have a great week.

Thanks,
Elder Sederholm

Monday, July 31, 2017

P-day 45: Day 321 - "I feel very blessed."

Here's Nathanael's last letter. Sounds like he had a fun p-day!

Hey guys,

This week has been good for me. I'll start with today and go backwards. Today we got permission to go the mall (Dom Pedro) in Campinas, which is outside of our mission, and we spent the whole afternoon there. It was so dang awesome haha. We took a bunch of pictures and I'll send them to you at some point. It felt so much like being at home that it was weird. I got to eat Taco Bell (did you know that this city is the only place in Brazil that has Taco Bell, literally? awesome) and KFC. It was rad. I also finally got to buy myself a Japanese to Portuguese dictionary to entertain myself at night. I don't know if I mentioned it but I've been learning Japanese at night to have fun the last little while. It's nice. The dictionary was about 100 reais (like 40 bucks) so count it as my birthday present for myself. (?!) I also cut my hair and it ended up kinda... too worldly... I don't know, I kinda feel like a rebel, but it'll work out haha.

On Sunday our investigator that talked to us on the bus a couple weeks ago, Edson, went again, and after church he asked us how he can know when he needs to be baptized. Yeah! That really surprised me. So he's gonna have his baptismal interview tomorrow. I hope that all works out ok, and I feel very blessed.

During the week I felt totally destroyed and exhausted. As you guys know I've been struggling a lot. I'm trying to stay obedient, work hard, love the people, and take care of myself. There's a lot we can talk about, but for now the point is that I feel like I'm hanging on ok most of the time. I get down sometimes but during the day you just gotta keep doing your best. I'm not getting everything right but hopefully I'm at least going in the right direction. Sometimes I wish you guys were here and we could just have a real face to face chat and I could just explain everything. Something I've learned about my mission is that life here is full of choices between more or less bad and more or less bad, and not really between good and bad. You know what I mean? Do you guys think that life in general is really like that? It's so hard to see through the fog sometimes, because I really really really wanna get it all right and I just can't. Anyway, food for thought.

Love you guys. It was fun to see the pictures you all sent. Miss you and hope you guys have a fun week. 

Elder Sederholm

Monday, July 24, 2017

P-day 44: Day 314 - "It's been a good week for me."

As we chatted a little more, it became obvious that Nathanael is struggling a little. He's going through the classic mid-mission slump, but he'll be okay. We got lots of pictures this week so I'm going to include some of them here. We love you Nathanael! You've got this!!










Hello!

It's been a good week for me. We've been working a lot with members, challenging them to share the gospel and stuff like that. That's been really great. We also (a couple weeks ago) had a guy talk to us on the bus, and we've been teaching him and he went to church on Sunday. I'm happy about that. Yesterday was my companion's birthday so some investigators and members threw 2 separate parties for him, and that was really awesome. Things have honestly been pretty normal around here, so there's not much to say haha. I'm excited for my birthday which is coming up in a few weeks. I came across a Japanese book of mormon so at night I've been trying to learn Japanese to entertain myself. It's really hard though haha.

Sounds like Shakespeare festival was fun. I'm super jealous of course but happy you guys had that experience. Mom, your comment about cake made me laugh because basically all of the cities I've lived in have been pretty much like that. Super small towns. This city right now is a pretty decent size though.

Sorry I don't have much to say :( I'm happy to talk to you guys though, and it'll be good to chat back and forth a little bit. Miss you guys tons. Hope you all have a great Pioneer Day! Love you guys!
 
Elder Sederholm

Monday, July 17, 2017

P-day 43: Day 307 - "I know it's the Lord's grace that makes the difference..."

I've noticed that Nathanael has been feeling a little down. I remember going through a hard patch right at the middle of my mission too. I think it's normal but still hard, and even harder to watch your son go through. Love you Nano!!



Hey guys,

I hope you are doing well. It's been kind of a hard week for me but I'm doing ok. We had a multizona on Wednesday that was nice but also really overwhelming for me, and during the week we had a really hard time finding people to teach. The woman that we've been teaching, Mercia, told us this week that she doesn't want to get baptized after we challenged her to pray about the book of mormon. She told us she believed everything we said except for that, and that she believes that her church and our church are both right. That's a common belief here in Brazil. Maybe someday she'll be more prepared to receive the gospel.

This week I'm going to Piracicaba to renew my visa! Actually I'm going tonight and I'll come back tomorrow night. That should be fun. I've been feeling a little discouraged the last couple of days, even though our week wasn't all bad, so maybe it will be good to change things up for a day. We'll see. It just hit me the other day that I really want to baptize people, really really bad, so I can help them, and despite all my efforts to do that I'm just NOT GETTING IT. I think my companion's getting discouraged too, and I think he's frustrated with life and a little bit with me too, and I feel kinda crappy for those reasons. Sorry to use the word crappy but that's accurate. I'm trying not to get discouraged but you know. Anyway I'm feeling a little homesick too which is normal and not a big deal, I've been thinking a lot about video games and other non mission related stuff and I've basically found myself wanting to be in other places. All this is probably normal, I guess. I can't decide if the Lord is trying to teach me something, or if I really just suck as a missionary haha, or what. Like on Sunday we only had 2 people at church and I really wanted more, and I also slept in a little bit, and I don't know if more people didn't go to church because I slept in -- do you think if I had woken up on time, we would have had a miracle and they would have gone? I know it's the Lord's grace that makes the difference but it seems like everyone around me baptizes and has success and there are so many things I should be doing that I'm not doing, and so many things I shouldn't be doing that I am doing, and at what point will I be good enough to have the miracles I need to get the baptisms? Do you know what I mean?

I'm a little stressed but don't worry, it really was a good week and I love the members, our investigators that we do have and the other missionaries here. I'm happy and I feel like everything's going to be ok, I just don't really know what my part in that is. Sometimes I want this mission to end quickly so I won

[he accidentally sent the email without finishing it, here is the end]

what I was saying is that sometimes I want this mission to be over soon so I won't have to ask myself that question anymore. Well that's all that's really on my mind I think. In other news president bangerter is letting us listen to non-church music that fits within the guidelines now, so I'm downloading a ton of beethoven. Send good music suggestions!

Love you guys. Hope you have a great week and talk to you soon!

Elder Sederholm

Monday, July 10, 2017

P-day 42: Day 300 - "If Brazilians know how to do anything, they know how to chill really well."

DAY 300!! That's a fun milestone!!

This is this last week's letter. Like I said, I'm behind so I'm just going to post them. I love this guy!!

Enjoy!

Hi! I've been feeling a little homesick this week -- it's been kind of a crazy week actually -- but I've been doing good too. Good times in Sumaré! This city is ZION! We had 6 investigators in sacrament meeting which was excellent. We had Mercia, who has been being taught (that makes sense right) for several months and is getting SO CLOSE to getting baptized. She's a really intelligent and thoughtful person and we're trying to help her. It'll work out haha. We also had Fabio and his wife, and Fagner and his wife. We weren't able to find a lot of new people to teach this week but the good news is that we have a lot of people to teach already, and we have some ideas for where to go next. Good times.

Sorry I don't have any pics of me and my companion yet. I'm getting lazier and lazier. Trust me when I say he's the best though. I love being his companion. The other companionship is also awesome and it's a blast living here with everyone. I'm happy. I've been feeling REALLY tired this week and so I've been doing my best to hang on, work like normal, and do what I can. I'm pushing myself so don't worry, but man that alarm clock rings early sometimes haha. 

It's been a good week. Yesterday I sat down to read my setting apart blessing and felt the Spirit confirm to me that I'm doing a good job. I needed to hear that and that really comforted me. I'm not doing everything perfectly, but I feel the Spirit and I feel like that's a good sign. I'm trying to focus on feeling and following the Spirit and doing what I can, and then just letting the rest fall into the Lord's hands. If Brazilians know how to do anything, they know how to chill really well. You guys know that that's not one of my natural talents (to state it lightly hahaha) so I'm trying to learn all I can from everyone. I feel like I'm making progress.

Love you guys. Any advice would be appreciated. However I'm doing good. I'll send pictures in just a few minutes.

Have a super week!!

Elder Sederholm

Monday, July 3, 2017

P-day 41: Day 293 - "The Lord will bless me to be able to see the fruits of my labor."

I am so behind on posting his letters so I'm just going to throw them up here. Nathanael is doing great!

Enjoy!

Hey guys,

Mom your letter made me laugh because I have no problem believing you guys went to Grandma's at the last minute. ;) You guys are crazy haha. Hope you guys are having fun there. I'm super jealous and had basically forgotten this week would have the 4th of July. Whatever. The good news is that this new area is the best!!! It has been such an awesome week. First of all my comp is the greatest. Elder Britos is from Paraguay and has been on the mission for 6 months. This is his 5th transfer. He speaks great Portuguese and is super nice, loves the people, and is really chill and easy to get along with. We had a really productive and happy week; we were blessed with 6 people at church yesterday including a woman that we're going to try and baptize on Saturday. Her name's Mercia and she's an evangelical christian and it's really fun to see her testimony about the Book of Mormon grow. She takes us to all of her friends so we can share the gospel with them. Good times here.

The members here are awesome so far. They feed us as always (I mean that's true in every area haha) but they are really friendly and helpful too. We live like 5 minutes from the church and like 10 minutes from our investigators. That's a huge change from my last area where we lived pretty close to the church but like 45-60 minutes from everything else haha. This area is just blessings! The only bad news is that the house is tiny and kind of a disaster but we make it work haha. It's all good.

I'm living with another companionship, Elder Bosco and Elder J. Ferreira, the only Brazilian in our house. It's super chill. They're all really easy to get along with honestly and we're friends. It's been a great transfer so far. I had a lot of great experiences this week but one of my favorites was in our zone conference. One of the district leaders read Alma 26: 27 which we as missionaries read a lot to help ourselves feel better but this time when he read the verse, I felt the Spirit touch my heart and tell me that that verse, at this time in my mission, is true for me, that it won't always be easy but if I keep going in my challenges the Lord will bless me to be able to see the fruits of my labor. I'm thankful to have felt that. I always feel like the Lord loves me and is very aware of my situation, and sometimes when I get frustrated or feel discouraged it's good to have a reminder. I was getting pretty discouraged at the end there in Avaré as you guys know. However I did feel when I left that I had done what I needed to do there. Despite whatever happens in terms of outward success here in Sumaré, I hope that I can feel the same way when I leave this area.

<3 <3 Love you guys. Hope yall have an excellent week and fun on the 4th of July. Honestly Mom the most surprising thing you said in your letter was that you skipped out on an Owlz game to fly out to Denver. ;P #owlzblasphemy <3 <3

Love, Elder "GH só agua" Sederholm


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

P-day 40: Day 286 - "I'm leaving a part of myself behind."

We heard from our friends in Brazil via FaceBook that Nathanael was going to be transferred even before he could tell us. It's bittersweet for him. He's excited for a new adventure but will really miss his sweet friends in Avare. I'm grateful to them for their willingness to share news and pictures with us from so far away. It's reassuring to know he is being cared for.

I've been missing Nathanael more than usual this week. I just miss having him around so much. It's been a tough week for me, but I'm so proud of him and what he is accomplishing. Almost 10 months in the field!!

Nathanael sent lots of fun pictures this week! I'll include some of them here:









Enjoy his letter!

Good morning parents!

So I guess you guys heard I'm getting transferred! Who told you? I'm excited and nervous all at once. All this time I was really thinking I would stay but this last week I was feeling really stressed about the work in our area and I knelt down to pray, and had the strong impression that I had almost completed my responsibilities here. Next thing you know I'm getting transferred ;P crazy how fast my time here in Avaré has passed. I'm kinda relieved to be going to a new area but I feel really sad, too. I almost cried when I said goodbye to Iuri and his family. (I don't know if I've talked about them much but ask me sometime, they're an awesome family and a really awesome story.) I've come to really love some of the families and members here and I feel a little like I did when I left home to come to Brazil, like I'm leaving a part of myself behind. Don't really know how to explain that -- it's a really sad feeling but I'm grateful to have known the people here. Maybe someday I'll come and visit!

This week that family we brought to church last week didn't go. I think they're trying to avoid us actually, which is a bummer, but what can you do. The work went really slow this week, and there was a lot going on. Elder Hansen had 2 baptisms and we went to those, which was awesome. 

I'm going to Sumaré! My area will be Matão A or B (not sure), and my companion will be Elder Britos. He's hispanic which should be totally awesome and different. He'll be my first non-brazilian companion. I think Elder Hoch's ok with the transfer. His second companion will be Elder Keeler, another American from Elder Hansen's group. Like I said I'm excited but sad. Oh and I'll be living with 3 other missionaries again. I have all the luck haha. Living with another companionship is generally awesome. I don't know who it'll be yet, if I know them, but we'll see!

We had interviews with President Bangerter this week. He told me that I'm doing a really good job and that I'm an excellent missionary. As you know I have my doubts but when he said that I felt the Spirit confirm that to me. It was as if God was speaking through him in that moment. That was neat for me. But my best experience was I think Saturday, when I prayed to know if I was missing anything -- sort of a "what lack I yet?" type of prayer. I had an impression a little while after, during the baptism on Saturday, where I felt like the Lord was asking me, "why can't you just let it be all right?" or in other words, "it's all right." Don't know when I'll get the message but I was really grateful for yet another confirmation of that truth.

We were learning about sacrifice in the Gospel Principles class yesterday and the teacher said something that really touched me. He talked about 3 Nephi 9:19, which says that our sacrifice to the Lord should be a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I had already heard and thought about that, but he talked a lot about what a broken heart really is and said that it's a heart whose will is in line with Heavenly Father's. That really touched me. I had never thought about that as being the sacrifice that the Lord asks of us, but as something good that we should do. It reminded me again that the Lord really doesn't want our actions, but he wants our will, he wants our entirety. It made me really stop to think if I sometimes do the missionary stuff just because I should, or because I know it's right, but without will. I guess if we do all the stuff but we'd rather be somewhere else, we're missing the point anyway. So my goal is to turn my will a little bit more over to the Lord before worrying about my outward actions so much.

Love you guys so much!!! Papa told me that you guys had a lot of fun last week and that they went to Glenwood, which rules, and I'm jealous. Anyway, have a good week. <3 <3

Love you guys!!
Elder Sederholm

p.s. I've been reading Acts for the first time lately and I've been really impressed with Paul's sense of humor. You guys have probably read Acts and you might think I'm joking but I'm serious. It's worth checking out. Seriously, Paul has one- liners! The scriptures are awesome in so many ways. Anyway, have a good week. By the way, I'm leaving the LAN house now because we have to go to Botucatu now (for the last time :( ) but I'll be back in the afternoon and we can talk. Love you guys!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

P-day 39: Day 279 - "*mic drop*"

I think Nathanael is feeling a little discouraged this week even though it sounds like things are going pretty well. I'm so grateful we have a few minutes to email back and forth because it's fun to be able to talk through these things with him in the moment. Transfers are coming up this next week and he says he's feeling like he will stay in Avare. We'll see! Love you Nathanael!

 


Enjoy his letter!

Hey!

It was so good to get your guys' letters. Thanks as always. Mom I read your talk and it was great. You're always spot on and so wise. I bet that talk went really well. Dad that's awesome that you got invited to write an article! I'm excited for you. Cassie's room looks really great too. I'm happy that Grandma and Papa are visiting; I've been thinking about them lately. I bet you guys are having a lot of fun and i'm jealous! Go Owlz!

This week was extremely stressful for me, but it was really good too. We've been teaching a family of 6 and they went to church this Sunday. *mic drop* So that was extremely cool! Like extremely extremely cool. I'm very excited. And we had some really great spiritual experiences. We invited a boy to pray about the Book of Mormon and we asked him how he felt, and he said he didn't even have words to describe the emotion that he felt. It was really neat. He unfortunately didn't go to church because his mom took him to another city on Sunday but he went to a church activity on Friday and really liked it. He's already accepted the invitation to be baptized.

The longer I'm a trainer the more I'm feeling like I have no idea what I'm doing. That aspect of things is so overwhelming and stressful. Especially now that we have actual interested, progressing investigators, I'm freaking out. I know it's a reason to celebrate haha but I don't wanna screw it up either.

Next week is transfers and I'm starting to think I'm gonna stay here in Avaré again. We'll see. I'll know next P-Day already so I'll let you guys know. Either way is good for me, so I'm chill. Avaré is really awesome but I'm ok to leave too. If I stay, at the end of the next transfer I'll have 11 months and only 2 areas. Oh well haha. That's fine.

I did a division with Elder Almeida, one of our zone leaders, this week. He really wanted to help us have investigators in sacrament meeting. It worked! My stress has been worse this week than it has been in several months. It's just part of the adjustment process though. I already feel like I'm starting to handle it a little better. With new responsibilities always comes a little bit of stress I think. I was talking to Elder Almeida (he noticed I was pretty stressed) and he told me that when he trained he had no idea what he was doing, but if I do the best that I can and know how, it'll be enough for the Lord and I'll know I did my part. I liked that a lot and think that makes sense. 

Anyway I think that's about it. Love you guys. Can't wait to talk to you soon!!

Elder "Sid" Sederholm

Monday, June 12, 2017

P-day 38: Day 272 - "Fight me Brazil!!!"

As usual, I'm behind. Here is Nathanael's letter from last week. He seems to be settling right in to missionary work. I can't believe he's been out for 9 months!! From this picture it looks like it was a rough football game. =)


Hello (again!)!

So it's been a pretty normal and pretty good week. I'm happy and a little stressed which is life as usual, so I'm feeling pretty dang good and on top of things. I loved your emails as always and just wanted to say thanks. Know that your emails are a huge comfort to me and I always love to read them. Dad CONGRATULATIONS on the journal invite!!!!! That's so dang rad and I hope everything goes great. I'm happy for you.

We knocked doors like crazy this week, we tried to contact people in the streets, and we did a ton of other stuff. And it was pretty good and pretty normal. I've been getting a little frustrated because a lot of the time people will say they'll do stuff and then they don't do it. This will probably make you guys laugh because it's life I guess but for me it's so new. Like, this week, I invited a girl to a branch activity. I said, "will you go tonight at 7 to the activity?" (Keeping in mind that she lives about 5 blocks from the church.) "Yes, I'll definitely go," she said. I said, "so you'll go for sure?" She said, "yes, I promise." My companion said, "a promise is a promise," and I said, "yeah, I'll be sad if you don't go! Are you sure you'll go?" She said, "I'll definitely go, I promise."

She didn't go!! Fight me Brazil!!! But anyway that's how it goes. What can you do right. I'm doing my part. We were planning on having 4 investigators in sacrament meeting and we got a text message (this never happens) saying that the family couldn't go. Darn. It's been a little like that this week. I'm not that worried though. My main concern is making sure that I'm using my time well, being a good example to my companion and following the Spirit. If I do that then eventually I'll get it right, right? Right!

Yesterday I felt really good in church. I had the thought basically that this might not be a huge time of success with baptisms for me right now but that I'm learning what the Lord wants me to learn and that it's all good. I really feel like, as always, everything's going to be just fine.

I'm really digging the brazilian hymns so here's the words from the hymn "Agora Nâo, mas Logo Mais" which the english hymnbook apparently doesn't have. Elder Soares quoted this in general conference in April. I find it really comforting because we don't always know why we pass through what we pass through, but Jesus does, and one day we'll understand what everything means.

If clouds instead of sun spread shadows o’er our heart,
If pain afflicts us, never mind; we will soon know who Thou art.
Jesus guides us with His hand, and He will tell us why;
If we listen to His voice, He will tell us by and by.
Confide in God unwaveringly, and let Him us sustain;
Sing His glory endlessly, for later He’ll explain.

Se nuvens em lugar de sol sombreiam nosso coração;
Se a dor vier nos afligir, depois veremos a razão.
Jesus, que sabe o porquê, com sua mão nos guiará;
Se escutarmos sua voz, mais tarde ele nos dirá.
Confiai em Deus, sem vacilar, e sua mão vos guiará;
Cantai-lhe glória sem cessar. Mais tarde ele vos dirá.


Love you guys! Have a great week!

Elder Sederholm

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

P-day 37: Day 265 - "The Lord will help me to be good enough to do what I'm supposed to do."

Now for this week's letter -- Nathanael is doing really well. He always seems to have self-doubts, but I love the way he turns to Heavenly Father for strength and guidance. His intensions are good and I believe he will be blessed for his efforts. He's just plugging along.

Here are a couple of pictures in which I can only guess he is with his new companion, Elder Hoch. He didn't specify. But they get along really well and rely on each other as they try to find people to serve.



Hey guys!! How are you doing??

So at the beginning of the week we had our multizone conference which was great. After that we got home and went to work. We had a couple of really great experiences. On Thursday we found a really cool family and taught them about Joseph Smith. They received an answer about the Book of Mormon and accepted the invitation to be baptized! But when we came back for our next appointment, they told us they wanted to keep going in the Catholic church and that the Mormon church really just wasn't for him. I'm used to rejection but it was a bummer after going for so long not having very many people to teach. Then on Saturday we taught a lady who prayed about the Book of Mormon and received an answer, but didn't want to be baptized because she said that the church you are in doesn't matter. That's a pretty common reaction in Brazil, people generally tend to think that you just need to have faith and you'll be saved, but we're going to work with her. She cried during the first vision part of the first lesson. It was really cool and spiritual.

When I was a junior companion I felt pretty comfortable just doing my thing, bearing my testimony when appropriate and feeling ok even when we didn't have that much success. Now as a senior companion I feel a lot more stressed out! I feel like if we're not baptizing every week, not teaching constantly and not having spiritual experiences it's my fault. I keep seeing things I know we should be doing that we're not doing, and things I know we shouldn't be doing that we are doing, and it's really got me super stressed out. Any advice? I'm just not perfect, haha, and I really guess I thought that once I was a senior companion and "in charge" I would really start to blow the roof off of the mission. I guess I could have learned from my experiences from when I got in the field. There are things that comfort me though that I think I already mentioned -- for one, the priesthood blessing I received where I was told that I would find the people I'm supposed to find, and I'll be a good example for my companions. And yesterday I was feeling stressed out so I sang a hymn ("More Holiness Give Me", or "Mais Vontade Da-me") and I had the strong impression that the Lord will help me to be good enough to do what I'm supposed to do. I'm trying to follow the Spirit like you guys said. It'll all work out but you guys probably can imagine how I'm feeling. It reminds me of how I felt when I got to the mission but not as crazy. It's manageable!

My companion in other news is doing really great. He's an example to me in a lot of ways and helps me when I feel tired. We're getting along really well. Something I forgot to mention, too -- one of the traveling assistents to the president is going to come stay with us for a week or so. I think he's coming today or tomorrow. That should be really great. His name's Elder Sena and he's a really good missionary. I've already heard a lot about him and I'm really excited and kinda relieved. I feel like he'll be able to help us and train us both a little bit, haha. 

President Bangerter visited Avaré this Sunday which was totally rad. He gave a great talk and helped everyone to feel a lot more comfortable about the change in leadership in the branch which is great. It was good to see him, and when he was talking to me he expressed his love for me and I felt the Spirit confirm to me that the Lord is pleased with my work. Even though I'm not perfect! Haha! So that's mission life for ya!

I think that's it for this week. Keep me posted on everything as always. Love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Sederholm

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

P-day 36: Day 258 - "I just wanna get it right, you know?"

I have been totally remiss and haven't posted this week's letter yet, not to mention last week's. So I'm going to start with last week's letter and we'll go from there.

In general, Nathanael is doing great but I sensed a little bit of discouragement in his letter. I'm glad that we get to email back and forth for a few minutes each week because we can chat about the things that are bothering him and help him to reconcile them. I think he is in a good place and is progressing nicely.

Here are a couple of pictures he shared with us.




Hello parents! Hi! I hope you guys are doing good!

It's been a pretty good week for me. This week has felt a lot longer than normal weeks but it's been chill. We've been working hard like crazy and I've been feeling a little discouraged on and off because we haven't had a lot of luck so far in terms of finding people to teach, teaching people and so on. 

The big news in the branch this week is that our super amazing branch president got released and put into the District presidency. He'll spend 2 weeks of every month in our branch still though which will be good. The problem is that our branch is basically in rebellion and one of the counselors said that he lost his testimony of the church and that he only believes in God but not in religion. Right on! So we're trying to deal with that too. Hopefully it's just a bunch of drama and nothing will actually happen. However our branch has a long history of having a lot of serious problems with basically everyone leaving the church, and then coming back, and then leaving again... so we'll see. It'll be ok. The good news is that Rosangela's husband, Luis, was called to be the new branch president and he's AMAZING. He already helps a ton and now it's gonna be even better. We'll see how it works out. Their family gave us a few potential references last week and we're going to contact them and it'll be great.

So on Saturday we took a bus to Botucatu (again) to go to the Botucatu district conference that was Saturday and Sunday. And tomorrow we have a Multizone in Piracicaba so we got permission from President Bangerter to stay here for P-Day. We're only going to get home on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, we're not sure yet. So that's crazy. It's all good though. On Saturday I was feeling pretty destroyed and discouraged but during the meeting on Saturday I felt the Spirit really strongly. I felt that I'm doing a lot of good for the mission and that I don't need to worry about that, and I also remembered the blessing that Elder Guimarães gave me when I got sick. (I'm better by the way!) He blessed me that I would be able to find the people that God is preparing for me to find and that I will be able to be a good example for my companions. I didn't think much of that blessing at the time but now that I'm training it makes a lot more sense. I worry a lot that I'm not doing enough to find people to teach, or that I'm messing up, but God has already promised me that I'll find the people who I'm supposed to find, who I'm here for. I'm doing my best so this promise is mine. I'm good to go and that helped me feel a lot better. I just wanna get it right, you know? Haha. So I felt really strongly that I seriously have nothing to worry about and that everything's going to be ok. That made me happy. 

Sounds like you guys are having a fun time. I had forgotten that today is memorial day. I hope you guys do fun stuff. Are you gonna do something with Marge? I'm on the record jealous. 

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

P-day 35: Day 251 - "God is watching out for me and putting people in my life who will help me."

I'm feeling grateful. Nathanael is having such a good experience and is able to influence others for good. I'm so proud of him. I'm grateful for his appreciation for Papa and Gale, and that he understands how blessed we are to have the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in our lives.

Enjoy his letter!


Hey!! So it's been a pretty dang great week! Pretty different as you guys can imagine but really good.

On Tuesday I said goodbye to Elder Guimarães and got a little teary eyed honestly. He taught me so much and we were like brothers at the end. He's doing good in his new area though. Tuesday I was super nervous. It was crazy. I felt like I did on my very first day in the field -- not knowing what to expect, excited, and super nervous haha. We went and picked up our companions and my new companion is Elder Hoch! He's from Rio Grande do Sul which is the most southern state in Brazil, he's 21 and is super excited. We don't have a lot of people to teach right now so we're in the process of trying to find people. We're talking to members and also knocking doors and just doing what we can. Yesterday it was raining like crazy and we visited a bunch of people who've already been taught and nobody let us in. But what can you do haha? It's all good. We try.

My comp is the best. I feel really lucky. He's a recent convert of 2 years and a few months, and he's cool. He likes to work, he talks to people a lot and he also does great stuff like cooking and cleaning (which is stuff I don't always do, haha, haha) so I'm grateful for that haha. 

Yesterday I talked in church. I hadn't had a single moment to prepare anything so I just grabbed a hymnbook (I forgot my scriptures and was on the stand already) and talked about missionary work. I felt like it went well. It was good for me too because I felt the spirit really strongly. I read the words to "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy". These are the words:

Brightly beams our Father's mercy
From his lighthouse evermore,
But to us he gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

In the Portuguese version, the word "resgatado" which means "ransomed" is used, instead of the word "save" at the end. I got kinda emotional when I read that part. I talked about how I have been ransomed -- how because of my parents, leaders, and even people like the missionaries who baptized Papa and Gale, I was brought to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I talked about how I'm so grateful that I was ransomed, that we (in the church) have all been ransomed and I try to show my gratitude by sharing the gospel with others. And we all have that opportunity! So that was a really neat experience for me personally.

This week there were a couple of times when I was feeling really discouraged and had no idea at all what to do. It's a lot different being the leader of a companionship and it requires a lot of stuff. Those times I knelt down and said a prayer and God answered those prayers in really specific ways. Elder Hansen, our district leader now, has been giving me a lot of really good advice. He just finished training and he has been the answer to my prayers more than once. I've felt very grateful for him this week, and also grateful to know that God is watching out for me and putting people in my life who will help me. He never leaves me alone.

As far as training goes, I feel really confident in talking to people and teaching. The hardest part is knowing how to use my time in effective ways. But I'm learning and I have a while to get that down. For now all the Lord asks is that I try, which I find comforting.

Love you guys!! Talk to you soon!!

Elder Sederholm

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

P-day 34: Day 244 - "The Lord will never stop helping me as long as I seek Him."

Our Mother's Day chat with Nathanael was awesome! It was so good to see his face! I love that face!! How could you not love that face?!


Here are a few pictures that we either got from Nathanael or members who share the pictures on Facebook. Thank you to those who share online!! The first picture is a baptism that the other pair of Elders Nathanael lives with had this last week. Yay!




Thanks to Sister Bangerter (Nathanael's mission president's wife) for this next gem - Nathanael playing the piano and singing with the other Elders for Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day to me!! Click on the link:


Enjoy his letter!

Hi parents!

So we talked yesterday but here I am again! I was so glad to see that you guys are doing good and are happy. That makes me feel really good. I worry a little bit sometimes and knowing you guys are chill helps me feel better. 

I'm nervous about being a trainer this transfer but I really feel like everything's going to be ok. I'm just going to use what I know and follow the pattern I've learned as a missionary of doing my best and always trying to seek and follow the Spirit. That's really helped me out a lot. Like I've mentioned I've had a lot of good feelings about this coming transfer and I feel like the Lord will never stop helping me as long as I seek Him. That being said I'm also FREAKED OUT haha. But only a little bit. Really I'll be fine.
Honestly, the news from Saturday night kinda erased the week from my brain. I don't even remember what happened. But it was a good week I think! Haha. I'm so dang excited to train. I'm just going to let myself be excited and not worry. It's all good. And I'll be living with Elder Hansen, the american, and he just finished training Elder Souza so he can really help me out. It's going to be ok. It's going to be ok. It's going to be ok! (I'm not freaking out, just affirming!)

I'm literally sitting here trying to remember what happened this week! Sorry I can't remember anything exciting! But oh well. The mission's great, the language is great, the culture is great, the people are great. I'm hoping to have more and more opportunities to teach. I'm praying that we can have progressing investigators that are going to go to church and be baptized. I'm praying I can touch people's hearts, bring the Spirit and help them feel and understand that they need this gospel, that it's a good thing and the right thing. Yeah, wish me good luck!! Woohoo!!

If you can't tell I'm really nervous! I think I need to laugh a little bit! Anyway love you guys so much!! Have a great week!!

Elder Sederholm