Monday, December 26, 2011


So it´s 8 in the morning over there right now. I was very glad to have the opportunity to talk to you guys yesterday. I had a lot more that I could have said in the time instead of just sort of blabbing but it was great to hear everyone´s voice and I had a good Christmas. I hope everyone is enjoying their day after Christmas. So I thought I´d thank everyone for all the cards and packages and care with a mountain of pictures. ooops... I spent all my Internet time getting frustrated trying to upload pictures but it´s being silly today. Love you guys
... I´ll have to send pictures next week

Monday, December 19, 2011


So right now it´s 2:30 here in São Borja and on Christmas at 5:30 I´m going to call.  Some members have computers\laptops but don´t have internet at home because it´s semi expensive. Some people have internet but I don´t know that they have a webcam. Everyone just goes to the internet cafes here and pays like a buck an hour. They have webcam (I don´t know how good it is) but I think we´re just going to call  through the chapel that´s in the downtown area.  So you guys should call the chapel at five (It´ll be a different time for you). The number is 34313675 and you have to dial the area code first which I THINK is: 5514. The Sister who gave me the number wasn´t absolutely sure about the area code but I´m pretty sure that´ll work out and if not I´ll collect call home and give you the right area code quickly and then you call here. Ohh.. The call is limited to just forty minutes. I got a package that it looks like the ward (The Rice’s and some youth) sent to the CTM. It looks like it got there a little after I had left and the CTM just now sent it to my mission address. Two envelopes, a Snoopy Christmas book that plays music a P-day shirt and a mountain of bright pink cards came from Mckenna but I haven´t gotten anything from the family yet. [You've gotta be kidding! I sent it 4 weeks ago. (-Joy)]  I´m starting to teach some Elders here how to speak English and I get a bit muddled up speaking English sometimes. I end up mixing a bit of Portuguese and English but one Elder is learning really well. We’re trying to find people. So between the three branches, there´s about 100 people who attend regularly and there´s more than 2,000 members here and it´s a city of about 60 thousand people. I counted not even twenty in attendance at the last sacrament meeting in my branch and It´s hard to get references or teach lessons with members. We're also having trouble finding complete families. I´m sure something will work out. My birthday came and went. Didn´t really feel like a birthday but it was a good day. I got a tie from someone in my ward. It´s like a tie for people who don´t know how to tie ties so it´s got a really weird pulley system behind the fake knot. Lot´s of people buy these because no one here uses a tie for more than the occasional funeral or wedding reception so no one knows how to tie one.  I KNOW THAT IT WAS EXSPENSIVE! I think the minimum here for a tie is about forty dollars. My district leader bought me a tie clip\pin. The holidays are rushing by and ... it just doesn´t feel very Christmas-like. I´m going to sing in a Choir in Portuguese and Latin at the chapel that´s downtown.   Looking forward to talking with you!

So here we´ve got me doing a family night with a part member family and another part member family. Then we have me in  front of the tree. We´ve got some glamm-shots of me in a tie that McKenna sent me. then we´ve got me goofin´off in the p-day shirt and my district leader and his companion. Oh and my Birthday dinner that some Sisters from the ward sent over.

Elder Hanson

Monday, December 12, 2011

No Webcam communication on Christmas.....AGHHHHH

So we´ve been teaching a young man named Juliano the lessons and he´s been progressing pretty well. He said a good closing prayer for one of our lessons that I think showed that his relationship with Heavenly Father was getting better and he understood (at least pretty well) the plan of salvation. Unfortunately he didn´t make it to Church yesterday. I´m still holding out hope for him. He´s one of the only people who seem to want anything to do with our lessons. I´m really getting better with my memorization and use of the scriptures in
practice. I can pull out lots of stories that fit well in lots of different situations. I´m also reading faster (I could do this but I can read faster AND retain now.) in both languages.
Christmas is right on the horizon. I have so much to do that I don´t have to sit in the house waiting for Christmas.  Time is just passing faster than fast. Just imagine, I´ll be able to give you guys a call on Christmas. So because it´ll be Sunday I won´t be able to use a webcam or anything like that because the only way to do that is paying in the internet place by our house.  [WHAT’S HE TALKING ABOUT!!!!  DON’T PEOPLE HAVE WEBCAMS AND INTERNET IN THEIR HOMES??!??!  I WANT TO SEE HIS FACE!  RATS!!!!]
As for decorations...there aren´t any. Occasionally you´ll see a house of the wealthier people with a wreath on the door and I already saw that someone spray painted their trees red and white but you almost couldn´t tell Christmas time from any other time of year here. There
are some decorations in the downtown area. I was at a big Relief Society activity recently with the Elders (We were asked to give talks and then to serve food afterwards) and on the way home we saw a few things all lit up.  They say that normally it´s either turkey or ham on Christmas. It seems like turkey is the bigger deal for Christmas. I´m holding out hope that we´ll have turkey at the members house where we´re going to eat for Christmas.
Weird foods: I ate capybara. It´s like a huge guinea pig. I didn´t know that it was illegal to hunt them when I was eating it. But I liked it.  Turns out that this rodent I ate is the largest living rodent in the world.
So I have to gather up all the pictures from the other Elders and we still have to take more Christmas pictures. I already took pictures of our tree. Other than this one pic, you´ll have to wait.
Dad, I miss our talks, drives and trips to fish and chips. I´m really liking the independence and rewards of being out here. It´s funny because my Mission President is always saying that your Mission is the best preparation for the rest of your life. I´m trying my best to plan and to achieve goals. I know that I was a handful and a prideful person many times. It´s being the Lord’s Fisherman that really has taught me a lot. I´m learning a lot out here but I´m glad you and mom always put up with me and did better than the best to raise me. I still remember when you and I were in the car together and you turned to me and said about our family "It´s forever Son". I knew that that was true and I still know today.
So my hair was getting pretty big at the last big mission picture. I tried cutting my hair the day before but it didn´t work out and I couldn´t cut it the morning of the conference/picture. So yeah I look like a lion. You´ll be pleased to know that my hair is regularly maintained in the standard and that this was just a fluke.                 
Love, Elder Hanson

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Blessings are available to all

So this week I had the opportunity to see the baptism of two people - a young man and a little girl. I gave a small talk on the ordinance of baptism. It´s exciting to see that, no matter what part of the world you´re in, the Spirit testifies strongly of the truth and the Lord extends His covenants to all His children.
The work's been slow lately, we´re starting a new transfer and ready to work Hard. I know that the Lord's elects are out here. It´s a bit discouraging to see how many people have been baptized into my branch and left the Church shortly after in this year alone, but with work and faith the members start to stay strong in their faith.
I love the Church and I´m really working hard to follow the inspiration of the Spirit and teach how I need to teach, not how I might think I should teach.  We never get any members to come with us to meet investigators, that would help if they did.
I bet Christmas will be exciting! So I´m not sending pictures this week but next week I´m going to get together pictures from my camera as well as the cameras of other Elders and I´m also going to decorate for Christmas today. You´ll have to see the decorations next week.
It´s constantly hot. It will get to be well over a hundred degrees here during December. The language is coming along. It´s an uphill battle in every sense, but I´m loving it.    
In answer to your question, I haven´t ever seen a Brazil nut here. Who knows if they actually grow here.
Love, Elder Hanson

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas coming?

Because I´ve been taking on a lot of sun I got an infection/inflammation in my ears which was giving me a headache towards the back of the head. I´m taking medicine and I´ll be fine. I also had LOW blood pressure but I´m eating right and taking vitamins and stuff. It´s all fine.
So the work's getting interesting. I´m going to work my head off this week and this month. My mission President was saying that because it´s Christmas time people are much more spiritually receptive this time of the year. It´s a humid 100 degrees and will get hotter in December. For me, It couldn´t feel any less like Christmas is just around the corner. I´m not seeing any decorations in my smaller part of town nor in their moderately sized downtown-ish area. I´m sure that eventually they´ll put some up downtown but I wouldn´t be surprised if I don´t even see a single lawn reindeer this Christmas in my area.
So we´ve been working and working. In the midst of all the lessons we´re finally working with someone who understands our messages and the importance and is actually praying to receive an answer. He´s one of the Lord's elect. We need to find more people who can progress. I know that there are people praying and looking for the Gospel. I just need to be a better "hunter and fisher who will search for them in the mountains, rocks and caves"
I´m working hard, I have hope and faith and I love this people.
So... I didn´t even think about Thanksgiving this week. I´ve seen some houses that have chickens and turkeys running around. Some of them are HUGE and some are strange breeds with weird looking heads. I´ve never eaten turkey here though.
Try not to tell me too much about Christmas.
Love, Elder Hanson

Monday, November 21, 2011

Plugging along

So this week Karen (the daughter of Marcelo and Kelly) was baptized. Terrific experience. Elder Janssen baptized her and my Companion and I along with the Elders from the other area sang "tal como um facho" (The Spirit of God) at the baptism. I sang the first verse in English (because the younger kids of the branch like to listen to English) then we all joined together for the other verses in Portuguese. The Spirit was very strong and I really do feel a bond with all these people. We're trying our hardest to build up our branch.
The attendance in our branch was very weak yesterday. Thankfully Valnei hasn´t missed a Sunday yet, is passing the sacrament, and bought a suit jacket. I´m happy. It´s tough because there´s a lot of feet dragging in the branch but there was a good talk on missionary work given by the Ward Missionary Leader and the President of the branch said he´d like to get rid of that "Church of the Missionaries which is different from the Church of the Members" feeling in the branch. He´s going to get out the mile long list of in-actives and part member families.
I haven´t been able to work much this week. I´ve had the worst headache. Somebody thought it was high blood pressure. I´m young, thin, and trying my best to eat right when all they serve is meat. So I went for a small check up where they took my blood pressure and they said it´s actually Low. They said it´s not THAT low and shouldn´t be much of a problem but I´m suffering and the English speaking mission doctor will give me a call later today. Everything will be fine. No worries.
The other branch that I was working in before the area division has people practically jumping in the water but I was helping some of these people prepare before the division. I´m happy that some progress is happening in this city.
My mission President is a very inspiring, sophisticated man. I went to the missions specialized training meeting and he lead the training. It was exciting because he´s intelligent and uses some complicated words but I´m getting to the point where I can understand pretty much everything.
I won´t get all mopey about the work, there´s a challenge here but I like a challenge.
It´s not going to work out to send pictures this week either ha. Yell at the computer screen. Sorry.
Love you all!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sounds like a state-side mission

The work’s doing well. I was working with someone named Marcelo, he and his nine year old daughter will be baptized and the rest of the family who are all baptized are returning to Church and becoming active again. My area was divided and now Marcello is in the area of the other Elders. I really feel like Marcelo has potential to be a Stake President or some great young men’s leader some day. He and his family will do great work in their small branch. I was also working with others who will be baptized and because of the division, the other Elders will be baptizing. That´s how it goes sometimes.
My companion and I taught 35 lessons last week. I´m getting better with the first lesson. I´ve been issuing the invites/challenges for baptism. It´s good that we´re working hard and practicing but I think maybe only one has a little bit of potential out of all the people that we taught last week. I think things will go well this week. I´m really hoping.
So a lot of people say that my Portuguese is a lot better than that of other Elders with more time. I still feel like I only know about 3% of the language but I´m picking up a lot of little things every day. Hope everything is going well there. I intend to study all the missionary library and those teachings of the prophets manuals in Portuguese after the mission so that I can really perfect my language skills. "Jesus the Christ" in Portuguese... now that´s an obstacle.
I got a haircut yesterday. I´ll send a picture next week along with some others.
You know mom, it´s funny, but i actually always eat salad here. Tomorrow we´re having a barbecue with some members. Thanksgiving is a complete mystery to the people around here.  I don't think we'll be doing that.
So, the picture of Adam standing with me at my baptism is where? Because I think it was in my room when I left. I shudder to think that it´s lost.
So Brazil is like ... very receptive to the missionaries. Nearly every return missionary that I´ve bumped in to has various stories of baptising like a young pastor who was converted and went on a mission. One of the Elders here in my district was only a member for a year and went directly for the mission. Now, he´s almost got more time in the Church as a missionary than a normal member. You also hear about people who baptise three hundred people each when they go on their missions. Brazil is very receptive... IN EVERY PLACE EXCEPT FOR MINE. I´m in a place where the goal of the entire mission is less than some districts in other parts of Brazil. No one gives us references and people steadily leave the church at the same rate that people enter. I´m doing everything I can to put some momentum in these branches and wards. It´s hard because my mission is just knocking doors 24 hours a day but I´m happy because right after I was transferred from Ijui some of my work paid off and many people who I worked with there were baptised.
Love you all!

Monday, November 7, 2011


Good to hear from you. The work's going well.  Another Elder arrived yesterday and so now it´s four living in the same house. The companion of Elder Janssen is Elder Natividade- (Nativity in English)  I was working in  a very large area with one companion and then with two companions and now I ´m back to having one companion and the area has been divided between us and the two other missionaries.   I was working with a lot of families who fall in what is now the area of the other missionaries. Make no mistake, the lessons are sinking in. My companion and I need to get a lot of new investigators in our area.  
That´s exciting to hear about Elder Neil Anderson coming to speak at Shoreline Stake Conference! We´re working hard here. I´ve been teaching a few great families. I know that mom wants pictures but I´ll be sure to take a lot of them this week. There´s some trees that have monkeys in them.  We´re going to have a few family nights and other activities with part member families this week so I´ll make sure to take lots of pictures. Now that we´ve got the four Elders in the house we´ll be sure to take some group photos also.
I know the Church is true. There´s a real calm that sweeps over you when you´re doing the work. We all need to put our shoulders to the wheel. Presidente Hinckley said something about missionary work along the lines of : "Your work is one of the most important kinds that exists. Your responsibilities in your sphere are as important as my responsibilities in my sphere." I know that the ward is receiving blessings from the hard work that´s being done there and because of the Elders from that ward who are serving.
We taught an in depth lesson about the Restoration on Saturday to a family. I then left a copy of the other side of Heaven with the family. Things are great! Sadly the couple couldn´t make it to church on Sunday because the mother was sick but three of the four kids were there. Valnei hasn´t missed a Sunday yet.
I think about Adam often, It´s not the same pain though while you´re on the mission. You have a bit more assurance or comfort while you´re out here. Make sure to have Heather drop me a line sometime. 
It´s extremely hot with a hot, sticky air that seems to rise from off the ground and sometimes there´s a burning wind. It´s only supposed to get hotter. I figured it out: It´s going to get up to an average of 103 a little while from now.
I´m really coming along with the language. I still have a lot of work to do but the Missionaries and many of our investigators understand me well.  Of course I´ve still got a lot of work to do but I´m starting to understand a lot of the more complex stuff.  I´m sure this email is full of errors but it´s becoming more and more unnatural to think in English. Recently I had to translate the words of my district leader for an American Elder. It was funny because I was speaking a bizarre mix of Portuguese and English and I had to really concentrate to speak English.
Love, Elder Hanson


Monday, October 31, 2011

New companions

Hey there,
So this weeks been interesting. I have a new companion from northeastern Brazil named Elder Karmen. He´s nice and teaches well. I think sometimes he over complicates the lessons for people who aren´t very studied up on everything, but he's good. We´ve been inviting people for baptisms and things have been going well. The entire mission will have a group baptism two weeks from now. Photos will be sent to the President and he´ll make a DVD of all the baptisms/missionaries. The same happened last month.
For our goal to be achieved our investigators need to be in the Church THIS week. So pray that we can find the Lords elects and that they can be ready to keep commitments. We´ve already been working with a lot of great people but I´m hoping we can find even more this week.
So I don´t just have one new companion. I have two. The plan was that my companion and another companionship would show up. What happened is that only one of the others - Elder Jannsen (a Brazilian) - arrived because his American companion is waiting on a visa for him to enter Brazil. So it´s us three working together with the two branches for a while.
Elder Jansen is really a funny nice guy. He was baptized a year before his mission and went directly for the mission after the minimal amount of time. By the time his mission ends he´ll be a member in the field longer than out of it. He already knows the scriptures better than many and understands a lot. He´s the only member in his family.
So Valnei is terrific. My last companion had valnei sign his address book before this last transfer ended. He told Valnei to write a small message next to his contact information. Valnei laughed and humbly said that he didn´t know what to write. So here I was expecting him to write something like good luck but I looked in my companions address book later and found what Valnei had written. It said "you are the best person I´ve ever met in my life" (translated from Portuguese)
It really warmed my heart to see that. I like to think that what he wrote could be extended to me as well ha ha. In all seriousness it´s inspiring to see that you can work with a person, bring them unto the gospel and in a few short weeks they have such a bond with you. The other great thing is that Valnei says he´s sleeping more soundly, he knows that God is really alive in his life and working with him. I sat on the side of Valnei this week in Sacrament meeting and I noticed that he had taken a handout from the relief society. I asked him why and he replied that it was for his aunt and his sister. The mere fact that he thinks about these things already makes me very grateful to my Heavenly Father.
The language is really coming along. I know that a lot of the time what I say doesn´t really come out right but I´m recognizing what I don´t know and this tells me what I need to be studying. It´s interesting because on the first day of every transfer, I notice a great leap in my ability to speak Portuguese and I recognize that as a fulfilment of what was said in my setting apart.
I notice very often an unspeakable calm that sweeps over me when I´m working. It ensures me that this truly is the work of the Lord. I am grateful everyday that I´m out here.     
I don´t know much about the holiday tomorrow. My area will be pretty calm tomorrow I think.
I´m not spelling or typing correctly. You can go in and fix everything. It´s getting pretty tough.
As for the message for the ward, you can tell them that things are going well and you can tell them about some experiences from the blog. You can also tell them that the mission is a really shaping experience that I´m becoming more humble and able to feel the Lord's will and love for me in my life more abundantly.
I love you all.

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Companion tomorrow

Hey Guys,
Everything is going well here. So my companion and I did a lot of good work together this last transfer. Tomorrow my companion will be transferred and I´ll be gaining a new companion. I don´t know if he´s American or Brazilian yet. We´ll also have another companionship entering the area and they´ll be staying in the same house where I´m saying. It´ll be good having four Elders together in the same house. This also means that the two branches that I was working in will be divided and so we can be a lot more effective and we don´t have to run all around. The baptism that we held last week was held for all the people being baptized in our district (collection of branches) So there were four people being baptized that day and some people from all around gathered in the building. There were some talks and welcoming, then the Elders who were baptizing presented the people who were to be baptized in the front of everyone. We were all to say a little something. I tried my best to describe our situation of finding and teaching him (Valnai).
We´ve been helping a lot of part member and inactive families. We´ve had the opportunity to invite friends and family of Valnai to his baptism and they thought that there was "something different" and they really liked it. So we´re going to be teaching and helping them. My companion and I are also teaching some other great families who are excited about the Church. One investigator of ours read 17 chapters of the Book of Mormon in one day.   
So my companion forgot to pay the water bill. All he has to do is call for the secretary of the mission and the secretary pays through the Internet but he put off calling for two weeks. - I had no clue. So the water was cut. We´ve been taking showers in the house of a member who lives close by. We´ve paid the water bill and hopefully the water gets turned back on today. Did I mention how exciting it is that I´m getting a new companion? Ha, but everything is doing well.
So I guess I´ve lost about about 20 pounds out here since I left the CTM. Not completely sure. I´ve forgotten to tell you that this last few weeks it´s been So hot that it´s indescribable. It´s frying inside the house and the second you step out the door the heat is all over you. Everyone is laughing at me because this is only spring and in the summer it gets way hotter. It was already 100 degrees here two days ago I think. It´s going to average 104 pretty soon. Don´t worry though, I´m drinking water and eating fine.
I´m sending pictures of people we´ve been working with and also other things ... like horses. Also sending pictures of my old district from Ijui.
Love you all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Hey gang,
This week was exciting! There was a baptismal service for all the people in the district. I had the opportunity to baptize Valnai (whom we have been teaching for a few weeks) and to say some words about him at the service. When we first started teaching him, General conference was just around the corner and we invited him to watch a session. Everything went beautifully after that. You can always bank on the Prophet. We were teaching him and he invited us to come and teach him on just about every day for a few weeks. He accepted baptism and to live all of the commandments. One day he became a little overwhelmed and thought that maybe he wasn´t ready or that he shouldn´t be baptized. I knew that he was an elect and only needed help (or a little shove) from the Lord. I asked to use his bathroom and I knelt on the floor and prayed that everything would be okay. When I returned to the room everything changed and we discussed things, shared scriptures and bore testimony and all of his doubts left him.
I still don´t speak Portuguese that well but at the baptismal service and the next day at his confirmation, he and I had a very sophisticated way of communicating: We smile and give each other a thumbs up.  
The language is coming along. Still a head ache and a half but I love it. Keeps me humble and I never have problems expressing at least the basics and I can always get a laugh out of the other Elders and sometimes even out of the Mission President.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pray for Valnai

Hey there everybody,
So, I´ve got myself a really funky Brazilian keyboard today. We´ll see what happens. The works coming along. There´s a very humble, sweet little man named Valnai who we will be baptizing this week. Pray everything goes alright. Valnai delivers gas to peoples houses. Everyone has a propane tank hooked up on the side of their stove here. Sometimes people put a doily over them, A lot of people have Play Station 2´s here because they are cheap and play dvd´s. The funnier thing still is when women try to put a doily over the PlayStation.
This week some woman that we were teaching spoke out against the Church or rather against anyone trying to change another persons religion. She sort of belittled our missionary efforts and didn´t understand that anyone would change the religion that they were raised in. It´s important to speak up but sometimes you just realize that the people aren´t ready so I held my tongue. I knew in that moment very strongly that our message is the most important one that exists. I was disappointed at how she was shutting herself off to the message but I knew that she was confused and missing a great happiness in her life, just as all the other people who don´t have or accept this message. It´s sad because this woman was shocked that we actually believed in all the doctrines that our Church teaches and that we do this because of our own testimonies. Her Idea of religion is something imperfect by nature and that you can´t agree with all the doctrines, you just take a few pieces that you like. She doesn´t know for herself that we preach the fullness of the Gospel
It´s impressive to go to some very humble member homes and see that a picture of the Temple or the Savior are the focus of their rooms. It´s great when you see church manuals scattered on their tables and when people quote the Prophets and apostles. The missionaries and members do a great work here The people here take better advantage of the Church magazines than you could imagine. Ít´s really something. 
I love you all.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

He'll get there

Hey there,
My companion's name is Elder Costa.
Conference was terrific. It´s really nifty how they do it. It´s broadcast live in English and then they have some people in a room somewhere who talk over the talks. The speaker will start saying a sentence and then the interpreter comes in. When the interpreter comes in the English can´t be heard. The hymns are in English but it´s interesting because we grab our hymn books and sing along in Portuguese. One Elder in my district is from São Paulo. I find that most people from São Paulo can not carry a tune in a bucket.
They broadcast conference in English in the other room but my district is all Brazilians and so they didn´t want to watch something in a language that they didn´t understand  - go figure - so I only got to see conference in Portuguese. I understood more or less (mostly less) everything. I think that during one of President Uchtdorf´s talks, he spoke about being humbled and teaching a Sunday school class in another language. I connected with that. I also connected when he said that no matter how small and weak that we feel we are strong in the Lord. He also spoke about the Lord using the weak to proclaim the gospel. 
We tried to drag some investigators to conference and two came. This is a big deal! 
Oh! I´m surrounded by cave men. One Elder was trying to make a watermelon smoothie in the blender. He couldn´t get all the chunks to the bottom of the blender. In this situation I would hit the pulse button on the blender or perhaps turn off the blender and use a spatula to mash things down. Instead the Elders picked up the blender and -while it was on- banged the blender against the counter top about a thousand times. Here´s the kicker - that didn´t work. 
Other news in the field of companion advancement: My companion tried to drain noodles by putting his hand over the top of the pan and pouring the water in to the sink. Golly...who´d -a-thunk that wasn´t going to work?
I got frustrated this week because I didn´t have a dictionary with me and was trying to explain a kite in Portuguese. The first guess was rooster so I spent about twenty minutes trying to explain a kite then I figured out that the same word that they use for rooster is the word they use for kite. That´s right, they named a kite after a rooster, a bird that doesn´t fly.
The language is coming along. Still, I sometimes feel like sitting in a corner, curling up with a nice warm straight jacket, rocking back and forth and screaming "Não falo português (I don´t speak Portuguese). Honestly, to say the word "was" you have to really understand the situation that you´re talking about. In English we just have one "was", they have three (at least that they use often, I think they have more). Also, forming a rhetorical question is rocket science. There´s different word endings and other headaches involved. I get complimented on my Portuguese sometimes but a lot of the time they just look bewildered, turn to my companion, and ask him what I said.
I got on a bus this week and felt a strong sense of stewardship over every person inside and out of the bus. The elects will hear the voice of the missionaries as though it were the voice of the Lord himself and they will come to a knowledge of the truth of our message. Perhaps it´s tough finding these elects or perhaps I need to become a better missionary, or maybe both. There´s so many in-actives here. I think I met 12 last week. They are very nice. They might be riding by on a bike and warmly say "Hey Elder" or they´ll invite you into their house but when invited to Church they just nod along smiling and say something to the affect of "I don´t really have the desire to go right now ...but I always pray" or "I always tell people I´m Mormon, I just haven´t been going for some reason" That´s right guys! Congratulations! Jesus Christ established his Church to teach us to stay in the house and pray. That´s so right, the Pioneers went through everything, many dieing all along the way so that you could stay in your house and pray. I gave up my house, family, music, fun, and ten thousand dollars just to give you a thumbs up and tell you to keep doing what you´re doing.
But all in all. Life's good. I love you all =)    

Monday, September 26, 2011

Working hard

You can see where I am now:
Google maps
Rua Cristovon Colombo n°:2197
Bairro Passo
São Borja

I think you can check out Ijui on google maps too.

Hey Family, If my spelling is bad it´s because I don´t have the best Portuguese but you really do forget all the English rules after a while.
So I woke up at Two in the morning to get on the bus to go to zone conference and on this bus ride there my facial hair already sprung up. I´m looking a little off. Oh well.
Everywhere we go is all on foot. It was the same way in Ijui but there`s more paved roads here and when they aren`t paved they are flat. So it`s a lot easier on my feet here. We only take the bus when we need to go downtown like on P-day or when we have a meeting with our district leader. We have lunch with a member usually every day aside from p-day. The chapel is very beautiful here as well. It`s all brick and carved wood. It`s really something. 

Well this week was interesting. I´ve been praying and we´ve been finding people with potential left and right. There´s a lot of potential for us to help these members strengthen the less active members as well. I said the Sacrament Prayer this week and I cried tears of joy as I heard the Priesthood holder on my side singing the sacrament hymn as we humbly broke the bread. Because we´re over two branches we have two sacrament meetings and I love it. We´ve been teaching some lessons and it´s really just up to our investigators now to humble themselves before the Lord and -through prayer- ask Him what they need to do. It´s tough because that´s really what it comes down to is just praying and asking, but it´s rare that they get out of their own way and ask to receive an answer.
 In Ijui there were nine investigators who I had been working with who were in the Church on Sunday and they're are all going to be baptized!
We had a zone conference this week and some Brazilians say that I have better Portuguese than some Americans who have more than a year out. The President was saying that he needed trainers for the twenty Americans who will be entering our mission this next transfer. He was explaining the difficulties because trainers need to be very pro-active in order to train. There´s already many Brazilians who are training and won´t be finished training other Brazilians by the next transfer. So our President is worried about placing Americans with new Americans because of the language. My previous companion spoke up in the meeting and said "Elder Hanson speaks Portuguese" (he said this in Portuguese of course). Then an American was saying how I should train. I´d love to but I really need to make leaps and bounds by next transfer then. None of this is anything more than speculation.  
It´s funny because I´m sitting here typing this email and having trouble spelling the simplest words.  
My companion is a good teacher but he´s just a TAD bit overwhelming when he teaches. He´s really kind and he´s a good help with the language.
I love you all a bunch!
Elder Hanson

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Surroundings

Hey guys,
So my new mission area is São Borja, It was a two hour trip from Ijui until we all got to Santa Maria. When I say we, I mean another person from my district in Ijui and we also picked up Elders from other areas along the way. My companion and the other two elders from my Ijui apartment are staying put. So all the missionaries meet in Santa Maria and recieve packages and supplies for the mission (more copies of O Livro de Mormon ) and sometimes meet with their new companions there. I just got a couple letters from Mckenna and waited two hours for the next bus to São Borja. It´s six hours away from Santa Maria. Some other Elders rode on the same bus until they got to their areas and for the last two hours of the bus ride I was alone. Companion Separation Anxiety. Then at 9:00, I got to the bus station and my companion showed up with two other Elders. Turns out that it´s just us four in this district. There were six elders here. Two sets of Elders were dividing my area but this transfer it´s just me and my companion who walk around in an area that´s bigger than big. Then there´s a downtown area and that´s got the other two missionaries in our area. My companion and I live in a house. It´s pretty nice. When it rains though, It´s louder inside the house than when a hailstorm hits a shed.
The Elders who work downtown live in a small building that used to be a Church. When the ward was small here, people used to go to the smaller building but then the ward grew so they built a big Chapel right next to it. So they live inside the older church building. It´s really nifty. When they go to Church they just walk to the next building over.
The ward of the other Elders is for the downtown area and there´s more members. In my area, we´re in charge of two small branches that cover these two big areas. Each of our areas have only a few members in each branch. Our Church building is more beautiful than the downtown one. I think it´s funny because the downtown area has buildings everywhere but our area has businesses (just smaller ones) as far as the eye can see. There´s more paved roads here than in Ijui and when they aren´t paved there´s roads that are brick roads but the bricks are pretty flat and easy on your feet. In Ijui it was like a bunch of crushed up boulders murdering your feet on every step. There´s also a lot of dirt roads here when you go far out. It´s usually scorching hot here and we´ve only had a couple days of rain here. When I arrived it was sunny skies all day most of this week. We´re approaching summer and it will be murderously dry and hot.
The branches are nice. There´s about ten thousand inactives here though. We go to both sacrament meetings on Sunday. As I listened to the humble talks given in the first meeting, I cried and when it was over I stood up and heard everyone joyfully conversing and laughing. With this and the sound of the Piano playing "Nearer My God,  to Thee",  I felt week and and like I could have slipped through the veil in to heaven. Then I gave a talk in the next meeting, everyone cried because they said they felt the spirit. I know however, that my grammar is garbage and I probably sounded really ... interesting up there.
The other Elders in Ijui took a bunch of pictures with me before I left and they´ll send them to me and I´ll forward them to you. This area also has a strange fruit that I´ll make sure to take a picture of. I got here and went straight to work and then the last few days it´s been raining so I don´t have many pictures yet. Next week.
As for the language: Things are sticking more as I learn them (they used to go pretty much in one ear and out the other) but I still have much to learn. The Brazilian Elders say I have terrific Portuguese for only having three months in the field. It´s a toss up, because some people here will talk with me and say that they knew Elders with a year and a half who didn´t speak as well as me and then you´ve got people who can´t understand a thing I´m saying when I ask something as simple as 'How are you?'  So it´s a toss up.
The visas must be coming through because there´s a ton of American Elders entering Brazil now. In my mission area alone, we´re getting twenty Americans this next week. This next transfer I´ll most probably get a new companion and then there´ll be two missionaries to divide our area with and they´ll stay in the same house that my companion and I are staying in.
My companion is kind, fun and he´s actually really huge - like bigger than a huge football player- huge. That´s good.  We have a lot of work to do.
Love you! Elder H.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Traveling on.......

So when transfers roll around, you find out whether or not you´re leaving on the day before the transfers. I´m leaving for another area. It´s too bad because the other three Elders in my apartment are staying. Would have been neat to stay around with those guys. They´re all saying how things will be a lot more stiff with me gone. My companion is sticking around in this area so he´ll be around for the upcoming wedding of our investigators and for all the baptisms of the other people we´ve been working with. I hear the guy who will be my next companion in this next area is the kind of guy that you have to sort of wind up to get going. I´ll be patient with my companion and the work of course.
So the language is coming. I can understand pretty much everything but talking freely with all the tenses and word endings that they use is a lot more difficult. There´s many different word endings for conjugating the verbs, then there´s about a thousand exceptions to these that you just have to learn. There´s also about a thousand different rules for ordering words to form a sentence. I said I could understand pretty much everything. I do pretty well but I still have so much to learn. I had spoken with American Missionaries who were nearing the end of their time here and they said that you´re fluent about four months in the field. I think that they meant you can understand things better but you still really have a lot of work to do. The Brazilians in my district say that currently they think I have the best Portuguese out of the Americans in the district. Not to gloat, we´re all progressing. I am getting frustrated with my accent. It´s good but there are some words that my mouth just can´t make currently without the Brazilians laughing.

I love you all. The mission's coming along. I´ll be praying for the family and make sure to be praying for me.  -Elder H

Monday, September 5, 2011

They think he talks a lot??? Hmmmm

Things (in terms of the work) are really picking up here. Guilhermi´s mother Selma has accepted baptism but we´re not really able to mark a date yet . Yesterday attended a testimony meeting. Things are really coming along. His mother owns a salon and talks about the missionaries to people when she cuts their hair and Guilhermi is inviting friends to the church and so all in all we´ve been getting more solid lessons. We´ve found another few special people and things are coming along. It´s tough but you have to find that handful of people who are ready to learn,seek,pray and to run with things. Alan and Leila´s wedding and baptism will be on the 24th. We still don´t know how things are going to go with transfers until a day or two before. So I´m still in Ijui and hopefully I can stay - with my companion - for another transfer. We know the people around here and can really help them, we´d also like to be around to see everything working out. The language is drastically improving. Still have so much work to do with it. I´m able to understand everyday speech pretty much perfectly, with a few words here and there not connecting. I´m learning a lot of phrases and things. Really conversing freely, like I would like, will come. Of course the Brazilian Elders are already saying that I talk a lot.   
No pictures this week. Pressed for time! I´m praying for the family and for everyone. I hope that things continue to get better and better for all of you.
Love, Elder Hanson

Monday, August 29, 2011

Still working on the verbage

Eai ,
Good to hear about the family and everything that´s going on.\
 So I´m really progressing with the language. This week, I´ve noticed a big leap in my understanding of everything I´m beginning to pick out a expressions and other things. I taught Principios do Evangelho (Gospel Principals) class this week again as well. I just can´t get a break, this week the lesson was on the Abrahamic Covenant. Difficult enough in my native language. I also gave a talk this Sunday and was able to gather up enough Portuguese to talk for five minutes. I know my grammar still has a lot of work to be done with it. I´m at the point where I´m comfortable enough with the language (and blessed enough with the gift of tongues) that I´m starting to really retain things, the language is sticking. I need to work so much on verbs but I´m actually starting to remember all these verbs and different forms with a lot more ease lately.
So two weeks ago we started teaching a family the Gospel. This family is amazing. Each one of them seems to care about the lessons and they understand everything. Things were going great until our last lesson. Then everything just fell through. They really like us and our messages but are having trouble making that jump to conversion. I believe that they feel that if they didn´t know it was true then it would be easier to stay as they are. So they already are starting to know but they have to continue to pray and read the Book of Mormon to gain a true testimony.
Then we started teaching one Investigator who ... well it was like the training videos we watched at the CTM. He was perfect, hungry for the gospel, like we were answering his deepest questions and that the Gospel had a familiar feeling to it because of it´s truth. So he´s committed to baptism everything’s going swimmingly. Sunday it was a sunny day, perfect for going to church and... he just didn´t go. So ... it´s really the truth that being a missionary is hard.  But I´ve worked hard this week, learned a lot, and laughed hard. I love these people. The hard times just make it easier to humble yourself lower than the dirt so that maybe you can invite these people to take these steps in their lives and maybe they´ll accept.
As for marriage of people here, It´s really not expensive. It´s around a hundred and forty dollars American I believe. It´s really not difficult, people have smart phones here but they never thought to spend the few dollars at the commencement of their relationship to be legally married. Ceremonies are rare, it´s really just signing a piece of paper. The majority of people that we ask we say "how long have you been married" then they give us a number then we say "on paper" and they say " on paper" So they aren’t married.
The Church is paying for the marriage of Alan and Leila we just have to wait for the papers to finalize. Hope I can be around after this transfer to see everything going on. Love all of you guys.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Great to hear from you!  This week I taught Gospel Principals for the first time in Portuguese. It went well. My vocabulary is limited but I think I did an alright job. My companion and the other companionship that were in the class helped me with explaining some things. So we had our first baptism on Saturday! He was baptized by a friend of his that is in our ward. The next day I performed the confirmation and I was able to do so confidently and with a decent accent. The Lord is blessing me so much in the language and everything else. My companion and other Brazilian Elders are a big help with the language.
So much has happened this week. So we started teaching a family last week that I felt good about but now I feel amazing about them and feel really strongly that this family of four will be baptized as well as understand the full importance of things. There´s even potential that a few relatives of theirs could be baptized as well. Then there´s the family of Alan and Leila, they have four little girls and two of the girls are 8 and 9 years old. They will be baptized together as a family (They're already super active in the church) but they need to be married first. We paid for their license for marriage and it just needs to come in the mail. I´ll probably be transferred out of here before the ceremony that will be held in the chapel and before the baptism. Towards the beginning of my time in the field, my companion and I found someone named Ondina and she´s such a terrific person. We taught her the lessons and prepared her for baptism and then she moved just in to the neighboring area so she was baptized in to the other ward by other elders. Well now she moved back in to our area and ward. Heh, go figure.
People here are very straight with you and they are very spiritually hungry. I haven´t met an atheist yet. I love these people so much. I´m becoming a better missionary, teaching better and I´m trying to temper myself in patience and humility.
Oh, the other day we taught a 92! year old man and his 75 year old wife. They were both really with it and for ninety two he could really move. He had the biggest bombasha (pants that some of the southern Brazilians wear) that I´ve ever seen. They accepted baptism but they have the Divine problem of Brazil - that´s right - they aren´t really married. So we´ll see how everything works out.
This week a strange man came up to me, my companion and the other companionship that we live with. He ranted in Portuguese something about us not being able to enter japan then he tried his best English to say "WE NO WANT YOU" we laughed it off but it was just kind of ...interesting. We also contacted a young man who said he dreamed about the end of the world. We said something to the affect of "how special" then gave him a contact card.

The majority of these pictures are the property of a family in the ward. We have a picture with the family. The boy's 19, getting ready for a mission and his dad is 88. Go figure. The shorter Brazilian is my companion, Elder Andrade. The taller one lives in our apartment with his American companion, (the guy with blondish hair) Elder Anderson. There´s a couple pictures in front of the Chapel here in Ijui. There´s a picture of one of our members who takes pride in wearing the ...uhh native clothing around here. He´s a lot of fun and a very spiritual guy as well. There´s a few pictures from baptisms of the other elders and ... then there are just cows that some family has. I don´t think these cows are the kinds that anyone eats or milks around here. 
Love you.  Elder Hanson

Monday, August 15, 2011

Patience? Really?

A lot happened this week. The Portuguese is coming along. I´m starting to understand people better and better and things are "sticking" in my mind better now. Tell Jimmy that I´m sure that the elders in the Spanish speaking branch will come along with the language. You can also tell him that it´s gospel truth that Portuguese is more difficult than Spanish. There´s nearly an entire page in my verb book on conjugating the word for "laugh".
The people here are wonderful. I just wish I could get them to come to church. So it turns out we´re not having a baptism until next week because the person who would have been baptized this week went on a trip this Sunday. I´ve seen many beautiful things and many strange things this week. It´s been up and down again between freezing and fryingly hot. Luckily it´s more just hot and I don´t have to worry about walking to church in a suit in the rain anymore.
I´m growing a lot in my patience and understanding of people. I´m waiting patiently for the success to happen. Of course it´s a lot more than waiting! I need to act! and that´s what I try hard to do everyday. I´m studying my head off and striving to love these people with all my heart. So my companion and I opened this area. He had already had success in his other areas but here (In this city) they hadn´t had a baptism in nearly a year. Not to worry though the other sets of missionaries in this city have been having a few baptisms here and there and we´ll have ours soon enough. This week we took a bus (just for an hour ) to a conference in Cruz Alta. The ward building in Cruz Alta is literally more beautiful than temple square or a visitors center or pretty much anything anyone has ever seen before. Our ward building here is also gorgeous. I´ll pray for the family, make sure to have everyone pray for me and make sure that they pray for my investigators to stick it out with commitments. I have a few funny pictures this week. Sending them soon.      

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ups and downs

Hey Guys, This week was crazy. Tuesday it was bone chillingly cold and it wasn´t really raining but there was a constant cold mist coming from every direction. Next day it was just COLD and then the rest of the week it´s been scorchingly hot. So the only baptism that we would have had was of a woman who moved just before we could baptize her. She barely moved in to the next ward over. So some missionaries that we see all the time ended up baptizing her. She´s already a great member. LUCKILY my companion and I have the opportunity to teach her brother and his family. Great Family! There´s a lot of trust and progress going on there. This month is looking to be significantly more successful. There´s also a family who were taught three months ago and they accepted baptism but they had two problems. One, the ward split and two, the other elders were transferred right then. So thanks to a little confusion and the previous elders in our area not following up - until just now - this family was lost in the shuffle. We visited them and they seem interested still - JOY. The highlight of the week was when one of our families came to church. It was sunny and they were a couple with four little daughters. The little girls were all wearing pink dresses and the family were holding hands. Picture perfect. They like the church and want to be baptized. Of course the couple isn´t married yet, but they are filling out the papers. So we´re waiting the thirty or so days and I should be able to baptize them in the last couple weeks of this transfer.
We talked to one guy this week. We were discussing the authority for baptism that John the baptist had and why it was significant that Jesus Christ chose to be baptized by him. Of course he didn´t think that authority was important and told us that you could - having faith - take a shower and the Lord would accept that as a baptism. We had a lot of moot appointments and trouble with contacts then we bumped into a really perfect contact. We'll see how things go with him. I´m excited. Our first official baptism for our ward by someone we found will be Sunday. His friend who´s a member will be performing the baptism. We are working with his mother also - things look good. Have another baptism following with another kid but the kid needs to go to Church more.
The language is coming bit by bit. I know a good bit and I´m significantly better than even a week ago.
Love you all

Monday, August 1, 2011

Watch out for the fox!

Eia Tche. (This is bagual (Brazilian Redneck) for Hey Man.) Crazy week. So a lot of things have fallen through. Yesterday we had a baptism for a woman named Ondina who I taught with my companion. While we were teaching her, she moved to just out of our area and in to the area of a nearby set of missionaries. They baptized her but my companion and I should get some credit ha.  Also found a perfect family and started teaching them. And of course they just happened to be moving to just in to that set of missionaries territory. We´ve had a lot of people saying without acting and a lot of hard times. This is the hardest area my companion has been in. He had baptisms before in his other areas but here there hasn´t been a baptism for anyone in nearly a year. Well...before our new district got here. All the missionaries in my district have been having a lot of success here. But I started in one of the harder areas. So after all this ... the dust is settling and we have a baptism coming (!!!!) up for Guilermi, a fourteen year old boy. Hopefully his mom follows soon! Also a boy named Vini needs to come to church more but he´s actually had excuses for missing and hangs out with the church kids. He´s getting baptized soon. Hoping his father also gets baptised. 
This week was crazy. The lightning here is crazy. It can be mid day, barely raining at all, and the lightning will quickly flash and light up the whole sky. It´s beautiful and happens very frequently. We practically have to drop the one woman who won´t re baptize. She´s really hitting some walls. She still goes to her church along with ours and claims she knows that ours is true but if she knew that then she wouldn´t agree with this other church. It´s one of those "gift of tongues" churches. She also can´t pray without a veil. Her pastor had a revelation for her about it. He also very commonly has revelations in Japanese she says... and she has no ... suspicions about this...go figure. 
This week we had lunch with an older couple who are members. As the meal was being prepared, in walked a middle aged man (I think he was their son). They had a fox in their crawl space between the roof and the ceiling. So I saw him walk in to their bedroom then the old man walked in with trash bags, then the old woman came through the house dragging a large wooden club! She took it in to the bedroom and then we heard the middle aged man climbing around in the ceiling. We heard many thuds as he whacked all over the ceiling that was above our heads. We then heard him dragging the club around to sort of finish off the fox. Then I think I heard the fox´s bones break! The fox must have been sick because he was just killed but smelled long dead. After lunch we were given a dessert. They call desserts a "sobre mesa" meaning "over the table". I think that´s clever. So this nice old lady obeys the word of wisdom but apparently didn´t know she couldn´t flavor the cold dessert by dumping wine on it... so before we figured it out I had two hefty helpings. I lived and of course I didn´t know. Talked it over with the leaders. It´s okay ha. 
So the other set of Elders who live in our apartment with us made a contact the other day. The man said that he had been paying tithes to Heavenly Father all of his life but that he never saved him. He then said "I have a story you´ll never believe"... He was right about that. He said that he was in his living room reading the bible and someone mysteriously walked by and threw a bomb in to the room. Then, just as all hope was lost and the explosion was going to start... John the Beloved appeared in a column of fire and saved him...WHAT!? The elders then asked who he thought would have sent John to save him. To this he replied: "Well... I think it was ...probably God." Then they asked if he was baptized and studied the bible. To this he replied that he had been baptized catholic and emphatically stated he had studied the bible very well for seven years! He was asked if he knew anything about the baptism of Jesus Christ, to which he said "no." Silly rabbit. 
So please correct my spelling and grammer. I´m in a hurry. I also am losing the ability to spell in English. I´m nowhere near where I want to be with Portuguese but it´s so much easier to spell in. I´m trying to think in Portuguese as much as I can. The language is really doing better this week. So I´m sending more pictures. As for the pictures from last week, the older guys with different tags are institute instructors. The group photos are people from my CTM district and all the other elders  and sisters are missionaries who I became good friends with. There´s a picture of me with the CTM president and his wife. I´m sitting in the middle. My companion from the CTM is Elder Hollandsworth. the guy who looks like clark kent, not the Elder who looks like James Franco. Then there´s a couple pictures of me with my new companion. He´s the skinny guy with a couple pictures of us together at the house of the mission president.
Ooops. Can´t send pictures this week. There´s next week then.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CTM District

CTM Companion, Elder Hollandsworth

With (CTM) President and Sister Clark ( I'm the one in the middle).

Elder Jensen

My First Companion/Trainer, Elder Andrade

President and Sister Ribeiro