Monday, March 27, 2017

P-Day 27: Day 195 - My companion is "helping me to really become who I want to be as a missionary."

Nathanael's letter is short and sweet this week. He sounds great! I'm so glad that he seems to be settling in to mission life.


Dear Mom and Dad,

I hope your guys' week was really good. I miss you guys a lot. I'm doing really well out here on my mission but sometimes I feel the distance emotionaly and physically between us and I feel sad. You guys are really important to me. However I'm glad we get to talk every week and just know that I'm very happy and doing really well.

I LOVE my companion. Seriously he's the best. He's helping me to really become who I want to be as a missionary. This week he gave me a lot of opportunities to be a "cara de pau" which means stick face and is a person who says what he wants to say without being embarrassed. He's helping me do a lot of stuff, take the initiative, teach with confidence and power, talk to people and be more than just a quiet junior companion. It's totally awesome and I love it. He is nice and believes in me and I'm just so grateful to have a companion like that. It's what I've been needing.

I'm glad you guys are doing well. It'll be fun to have Grandma out there and it sounds like life is just normal and good which makes me happy.

I feel good, guys. It's been a good week. I spent a little money on an awesome chess set.

Flavia's daughter, Fernanda, wasn't baptized this week because of some family drama that happened: Flavia's mom said that Fernanda couldn't be baptized. But Flavia really stepped up and said that she's the mom and she can make that decision, so now Fernanda will get baptized after all, this Saturday. That should be excellent.

I brag to everyone that my mom is doing general conference. I hope that's going well. Mom you rock. 

Dad you rock too. It seems like every week you have a new responsibility or opportunity. I'm so proud of you (are you allowed to be proud of your parents? I don't see why not) and think the world of you, and Mom too. I miss you guys!

Thanks for your letters as always. I think that's about it for this week. This coming week should be more eventful and exciting. We have interviews with President Bangerter and we might move houses which should be cool. Have a good week!

Love you guys,
Elder Sederholm

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

P-day 26: Day 188 - "I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to really come to know my Father in heaven..."

I'm grateful that Nathanael is in a good place. He is happy and working hard and excited about what he is doing. As a mom, that's all I really want for him. It sounds like he is still having experiences that will help him grow and progress which also makes me happy.

I'm grateful that Heavenly Father loves each of us enough and is aware of each of us enough that He allows us to have experiences that stretch and grow us. Without those struggles, we would never become the people He envisions that we could be. It really is a sign of His confidence in us when we are required to do hard things. I'm proud of Nathanael for humbly understanding that his struggles will lead to growth and that they are a sign that he is loved by his Heavenly Father.

Enjoy his letter!

Hello parents!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have seen so many miracles this week. Uh, to avoid using many words...

Woohoo!!!!!!!! We baptized our investigator Flavia!! And boy let me tell you it was a miracle. She had a lot of struggles with the word of wisdom but we've been working with her. We were really worried she was going to fall back into her old habits this weekend but she stayed strong and well, you can see the picture. She said she felt really light and peaceful and stuff like that. So awesome!! Stuff like this is so great. I can't even explain it.

I had a couple of pretty special moments this weekend. When I saw Flavia get out of the car on Saturday night (she was about 10 minutes late to the baptism and I was SO WORRIED she wasn't going to show up) I felt such joy. I don't know if I've ever felt so much joy in my whole life. I had a similar experience on Sunday right after she was confirmed. I felt so much joy. I felt the Spirit really strongly and I had the very strong feeling that I had a very real part in her making this decision and I have made a positive mark on her eternal life. It's indescribable. I have never felt that feeling before and I literally don't know if I've ever felt so happy in my whole life. I can't emphasize this enough. What an incredible weekend.

The adversary really worked on us this week. Elder Guimarães told me on Friday that this had been the worst week of his whole mission. For me it wasn't quite that bad but it was difficult. The work was hard for us. But we pushed through and our hearts were in the right place and it was really amazing to see that we had miracles happen despite our imperfections. I'm so thankful for that.

I hope you guys had a great week. It sounds like you're doing good. As always I miss you guys, sometimes a lot, but we're all in good hands. 

I've discovered something about my mission, or at least it's something I'm thinking about. My mission has been stripping down all the stuff that's not "me." I'm figuring out who I really am, and unfortunately it's kind of disappointing. I'm realizing that I'm a pretty normal dude -- pretty average, pretty disobedient, pretty proud, pretty ugly (just kidding), and pretty normal to sum things up. And what's troubling to me is that I'm very imperfect. I'm a sinner. At least I'm a repentant sinner, but man the Lord has really been very blunt in showing me my weaknesses. (This is hard to explain in english!) When I was set apart president Cutler blessed me that the roots of my testimony would grow deeply on my mission and that this would bless me to be strong during the hard parts of my life. That made me a little nervous at the time because when I went on my mission I had a strong testimony and I knew it! But here I'm on my own more than ever. Now it's just me and the Lord most of the time. And my relationship with Heavenly Father is becoming so personal as a result of this, which puts a lot more responsibility on my shoulders. It's a weighty privelige but it makes a man realize how weak and sinful he really is. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to really come to know my Father in heaven even more. And I really feel like even though I'm weak and normal and blah blah blah, this mission can be the stage where a lot of these discovered weaknesses can become strengths through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I hope. I'll keep you posted on the progress. 

I hope all that makes sense. What I'm trying to say is that I feel like the Lord is just trying to "clean house" in terms of my personal growth, that it's a process, and that I shouldn't be discouraged. And along the way, I'm growing closer to Him. What a blessing!

Love you guys. I'll talk to you soon.
Elder Sederholm

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

P-day 25: Day 181 - "Só alegria!!!"

Nathanael sounds really great again this week! It makes me happy. And I'm really glad that he got his package - finally!!! I'm grateful that he got it and that everything seems to be in it. Thank you for supporting him. As he says at the end of his email, getting letters and emails from home always makes him happy.

Enjoy his letter!


How are you guys doing?? It was great to get your emails as always. I totally forgot that Pi Day was tomorrow. It's crazy how you start to forget stuff like that after a while. The work is going great. On Tuesday we had a Multizona activity so that kinda estragou (destroyed, haha) our week. We left on Sunday night to get to Botucatu, stayed there Monday, traveled to Piracicaba and then back to Botucatu on Tuesday, came back to Avaré on Wednesday only to go to Arandu (a different city that's part of our area) and back, and then we visited Arandu again on Friday. So it's been a kinda crazy week but we're doing what we can. Between us and the other guys we had 3 investigators in sacrament meeting including 2 that will probably (hopefully!!!!!!) be baptized on Saturday. We'll see. She (Flavia) struggles with the Word of Wisdom but has a testimony and knows she needs to be baptized. Her daughter, Fernanda, is 8 and... is 8. So if Flavia gets baptized she will too, haha. We're really excited about that. 

The members are awesome here and the leadership is really excited to get working with us. We had ward council yesterday and got organized, and yesterday to bond as a branch we played football (the American kind) with the branch president and the first counselor. I'll send a picture. The first counselor is the bald guy and everyone calls him Batman. 

We're working a lot with less active members to try to help them come back to church and get referrals. That family that came to church last week is really great too. Turns out they're not in my area but Elders Hansen and Souza are working with them and at least the mom will almost definitely be baptized next week, which is rad. Só alegria!!! Being a missionary is so fun! There are a lot of difficulties but lots of blessings too.

Lately I've been struggling with the feeling that I don't do enough -- for example, I don't tend to talk to that many people around me, though I've been working on my confidence in lessons which has been great. But when I pray for guidance I tend to get little "tips" from the Spirit and I'm following those instead of just trying to be perfect now. For example I got a little impatient the other day and I had the feeling to just let it go. That sounds really small but it's really turned my perspective around in terms of how I do a couple things and now I'm a slightly better missionary. So stuff like that is really positive and good. Sometimes I feel like I can never possibly measure up to what I imagine that the Lord expects of me but I know that's where grace comes in. It's all good really. I'm very happy and life is good.

I got my package!!!!!!! And everything was in it, I think, sunglasses, credit card, blanket and everything else. It's been great. That dang blanket is the best. And I look like MIB when I use my sunglasses (or maybe I just look stupid, I can't decide) so it's just the best. If it's all right with you guys I'm going to spend some money to buy some pants and a couple other things I need today. My stuff is kinda getting worn out after 6 months (#6months) so (haha) that's starting to become semi urgent.

This is gross but I finally (#hallelujah #miraclesarereal) dug out my ingrown tonail that I've had since December. It feels so much better. I was so happy when I got it that I almost cried. I stayed up till 11:30 digging it out, so it was kinda a struggle, but I didn't have to go to a brazilian hospital so it was all worth it. Did you know that they don't use anesthetic here? 

I got a couple letters -- one from Benson that I loved and a letter from Maren Rowan in the ward. I'll write Benson but let the Rowans know because I don't have a way to contact them please. Honestly I cried a little bit. It feels good to hear from people at home always. 

I think that's basically everything. There's a lot to say actually but after a while I end up just writing too much. Oh, and I'm so excited that Hailee's going on a mission!! She'll be great. Just wanted to mention that too.

Love you guys.
Elder Sederholm

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

P-day 24: Day 174 - "Now is the time to really set this place on fire...I just want to get my hands dirty!"

All I'm going to say is that I cried when I read this email. He is so excited and ready to work hard. He looks so happy in this picture! I love him!

HELLO PARENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you want to know why I was typing in all caps it's because I'm so excited!!!!! I'll calm down. Haha. Sorry but this has seriously been the best week of my mission I think, or at the very least the best week in a long time. I'm so happy!! So the transfer happened just like it was supposed to. It's been a miracle, the whole thing's just been a miracle. Ok. So I'll start from the beginning. I thought I was getting thrown in the trash can of the mission basically at the beginning of things. Avaré is widely known as the worst area in the whole mission. It's a branch with crazy members (I already have stories) and it hasn't had a convert baptism in over a year. But I didn't even care about that because I just wanted to get away from the people and house I was living in. So on Tuesday on the way to my new area I stopped in Piracicaba for a while and got to talk to a lot of different missionaries. I ran into Elder Hansen, who I got to know a little bit because he was in my zone for a while before getting transferred, and we traveled together once and spent like 4 hours talking. That's when I found out the Details: (dun dun dun. excuse my drama, I'm excited)

Avaré was really struggling but Elder Hansen got transferred there and when he arrived the attendance in the branch started to rise. It was 20, but he told me it was 55 now. The area is really growing and the president is seeing so much potential there that he decided to put another companionship there. So my area, Avaré A, is actually new -- before it was just Avaré, but now there are 4 missionaries in the city. That was the first tender mercy -- I'm living with an American!!! Heck yes!! No more teasing because of being American, being different and so on. And that was just the beginning. We had a zone meeting on Wednesday morning and one of our zone leaders was an AP until this transfer. He told us that the president chose the missionaries he trusts the most to come to Botucatu (the name of my zone) because he feels that now is the time to really set this place on fire. It's the only District (as opposed to Stake) in the mission and he wants to turn it into a stake. That made me feel really good. I feel like the Lord trusts me and knowing that He has a work for me to do here makes me feel so trusted and good. This is what I've being wanting! I just want to get my hands dirty! You know what I mean? 

So anyway everyone here is really excited about the work. Our branch had an attendance of 61 this Sunday and we had 3 investigators (a family) at church as well. The kids in the family have been coming to an English class at the church for about six weeks, but they've never had an interest in coming to church. In the class on Saturday night, we got talking to one of them and got on the subject of religion. He said his mom has lived a really hard life but she's always tried to do the right thing, and basically explained that he's mad at God for never helping her. Elder Hansen promised him if he brought his mom to church, their lives would change. Well, they came!! And she really had a good experience (the mom), and she cried in church, and we already marked another appointment with her. So we are very very pumped about that. We've also been visiting a ton of members and basically just making friends with everyone to try to make everyone feel loved and more excited about church. It's been so excellent. Yayyyy. I'm just so happy.

Guys I'm just so happy. I feel so blessed. It's like I endured what I had to endure for now and now it's just the blessings. There will still be challenges I'm sure but I don't know how to explain it. I just feel at peace. I'm among friends now and united in purpose with them. My companion (Elder Guimarães) and the other companionship is great. It's wonderful. Thank you for your prayers and for thinking about me and stuff. It'll be good to talk to you guys.

By the way I didn't get my package yet but I asked about it and I will for sure get it tomorrow because we're having a multizone conference and it'll be there. I'll tell you all the details as soon as possible.

Love you guys tons. I am focused on the work but you guys are on my mind all the time. Just know I'm doing really well and being blessed. Love you guys.

Elder Sederholm