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!


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