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.



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!


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.


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.

Elder Sederholm