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

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

P-day 33: Day 237 - "It's our best, small efforts that the Lord uses to save souls."

Counting down the days until Mother's Day!! I'm so excited to talk to Nathanael! I'm glad that he is having opportunities to visit the beautiful places of Brazil. And I'm grateful for the members who care for the missionaries.

Enjoy his letter!

Hey guys! What a week!

Actually this week was normal. But it was really good to hear from you guys!! I hope you're doing well. I don't have time to respond to everything in your letters but I love to read them and miss just being able to talk to you guys. I'm doing good though.

I'm sending like 40 pictures to you guys this week. They are mostly all of our new house and the stuff we did last P-Day so it's not that exciting but you know. 

As far as Mother's Day goes, we're probably going to go to Nando's house. He cooks really well and is awesome, (and has 2 computers) so it should be great. If we don't go there we're going to Rosangela's. Either way we'll have a place. I'm pumped to talk to you guys. Can you believe it's already been 5 months since the last phone call?? Time really flies. It's one of the miracles of mission service, haha. 

Another week and we haven't been able to teach that many people or bring really anyone to church. However we're working hard and focusing on trying to visit and help less-active and active members. That's been a very satisfying experience. I worry sometimes but I feel strongly that the Lord is satisfied with the service I'm offering and wants me to feel good and just do my thing. So, I can do that haha. My fear of talking to people is disappearing. I feel confident in the language. This Thursday Elder Hansen and I did divisions together and taught a bunch of people and we didn't even speak English together. (At all, seriously! Just portuguese!) So we're feeling confident and happy.

On Tuesday I was studying the Book of Mormon and read Alma 37 where it talks about small and simple things and stuff like that. I've always found that scripture kinda annoying (don't know why) but when I read it I felt the Spirit comfort me and I was able to understand that even when it seems like my best efforts don't always produce that many results (or don't seem to), it's our best, small efforts that the Lord uses to save souls. Good news for me!

I had the feeling this week that a really special blessing is coming for me this next transfer. I have this feeling a lot actually (sometimes I think it's the Lord's way of telling me that being a missionary in itself is a special blessing, haha) but that's good news. At least I didn't have the feeling it would be terrible! ;)

One of the most special things about being a missionary for me is when you feel a lot of love from the people or for the people. This week we've spent a lot of time serving with Sister Rosangela and her family and on Sunday I had the feeling of being loved by them come over me so strong that I literally started crying. I don't think anyone noticed but it was embarassing haha. We're here to serve the people and when people go out of their way to help us it's just so dang nice and really touching. So, know we're being treated well.

We visited a reference from our branch mission leader this week and that was a really spiritual and neat experience. She told us she felt a great peace when we were with her and that she felt like we truly were representatives of Jesus Christ. She talked really openly with us and we invited her to church. Unfortunately she didn't go, but we're going to help and encourage her to go next week. I hope that works out.

That's really it I think. Love you guys tons!!! Have a great week!!!!!
Elder Sederholm

Thursday, May 4, 2017

P-day 32: Day 230 - "I've felt myself getting braver and braver..."

We heard that Monday was Worker's Day in Brazil, similar to our Labor Day, and because of that many moms on Facebook were saying that they weren't expecting to hear from their missionaries because the internet places were closed for the day. So when we got this email at about 4:15 in the afternoon we were really surprised and excited. It's short and sweet because he's busy, but that's how it should be. I love and miss him so much!!

Hey guys!

Sorry it's late! We've had a great but crazy P-Day which means that I'm writing you guys at night. Last night we took 2 buses to go to Botucatu again but it was really awesome this time -- we spent the whole day with President Sidnei (our branch president), his family, and another family in our branch, visitng waterfalls and other nature stuff. It was so dang fun and I'll send a lot of pictures. They might not all load today because we don't have much time but if not I'll send the rest next week. And Sister Rosangela sent you some pictures too Mom. [Here are some of the pictures that Sister Rosangela posted. It looks like they had so much fun! Thank you to her and her family for taking good care of our boys!]

So it's been a pretty normal and great week! I've had a lot of really good experiences. One of the coolest things was that we had Sister Marriott from the general YW presidency visit our mission and she was really awesome. I've been trying to seek and follow inspiration from the Spirit this week and I had some ideas I really liked during that meeting. Sister Marriott was really nice and we had a great experience.

I've felt myself getting braver and braver too. I talked to a guy on the bus about the church this week. That may not sound like a big deal but I was really nervous, but it went well. To me stuff like that is a miracle. We see stuff like that a lot. A lady also stopped us on the street the other day and asked us to teach her daughter. Haha. It's pretty fun how stuff like that works out.

My time is really short and I won't be able to talk but just want to say I love you guys and I'm doing well. Looking forward to Mother's Day. I really enjoyed your letters and the pictures. It sounds like you're all doing great.

I'll talk to you next week! Love you!

Elder Sederholm