Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Oi,como vai. Eu estou ótimo. Eu estou aprendendo portuguese. Translation: Hey, How are you? "I am great. I am learning Portuguese." I´m doing well. I´m taking a picture with my district soon. We get to walk all around on p-day but we can´t take pictures outside of the CTM because we´re not supposed to look like tourists. Once I get out in the field I can take pictures though. For now I can only take pictures inside the CTM and only on P-Day. So while there are some beautiful parts of the CTM I´ll just be taking pictures of everything later. When other districts leave, we are allowed to take pictures with them. I´ll be sending you many silly pictures with brazilians soon enough. I´m losing weight and feeling great. Jensen got here today. Because he plays piano, they´ve already got him spending his first p-day (you don´t get to leave the CTM the first p-day) practicing for tonight’s hymn. There´s a lot of Americans and a lot of Brazilians. Currently we have more Americans because more Americans usually show up this time of year. We just got forty New American Elders, Twenty something Brazilians and a few Argentineans last week but there´s hundreds of people here and people are always showing up and leaving. 
I miss Chinese food. Apparently there´s yakisoba somewhere(?) down the street. There´s supposed to be amazing pizza outside the CTM but the pizza places around here usually don´t open until after six (after many people are off work). There is supposedly one pizza place that´s open while we can leave for p-day. Until then it´s just pizza Wednesday inside the cafeteria. The cafeteria pizza is strange and makes Dominoes seem great but pizza outside the ctm walls is supposed to be some of the best in the world. 
I´m having many spiritual experiences and even better experiences in the temple. On Sunday the only free time we have is for either free time or an optional movie in the gym. Elder Hollandsworth always wants to watch the movie. So I take my notes with me and don´t really pay attention. They only have a handful of church films that are allowed so I´ve seen "The Testaments" three times. My blood boils every time I see that the little girl cares more about her pet monkey than the coming of the Savior (Go watch it, It´s true). I love you all. Hope you´re doing well. I´m learning fast. Yesterday I practiced Street contact with a Brazilian District. On Friday I do actual street contact. I´ve got some good phrases memorized and can understand enough to place a Livro de Mormon and make sure they read it. - With Love, Your Elder Devin Lee Hanson

Saturday, May 21, 2011

God's Love

It´s really been four weeks. It´s going great here. At the CTM, you can go shopping all over the downtown area on P-day. In Provo you´re cooped up inside the MTC even for P-days. We had a video fireside presentation from President Holland last night talking about how to be better missionaries and how Jesus tells us `feed my sheep` and `come follow me`. The Fireside opened with an American Elder playing an instrumental version of "I Know that My Redeemer Lives". This Elder has an unfortunate burn mark that covers most of the left side of his face. I know that God will heal him when we are in Heaven. I know that God has blessed him immensely because when I heard him play that song, it was proof that God gives each of us beautiful, personal gifts out of His love. After that, an American District sang "Come Thy Fount" and they sounded as the Angels of Heaven. It´s a testimony of our Heavenly Father that he would gather those young men from all over to wind up in the same district and all be so talented. God was giving the missionaries a beautiful thing to behold. Then there were two hymns in Portuguese. Portuguese Hymns are so much more beautiful than the ones in English. It´s really something. Then later, I sang in a combined Portuguese English performance of "I Need Thee Every Hour". Elder Holland's talk was beautiful and helped strengthen my faith in God's love for us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Learning the Lingo

Hey Guys, hope everything is going well. I´m feeling well and feeling the spirit all the time. I went out and got two smoothies for p-day. It cost about 2 US dollars for both. In Santa Maria things will be affordable but here in São Paulo it´s a toss up. Here there are very many Super-Rich people and very many people who are dirt poor. The middle class is small. So while I can often find something cheap to eat, there are for instance malls (for the rich) here that sell white t-shirts for essentially 80 US dollars. Elder Jensen was in my district in a companionship of three but now he has his own companion and a new district. Two Brazilians were sharing the room with myself, Elder Barnes, Elder Hollandsworth and Elder Williams. Their names are elder Coembra and Elder Correra. Because they already know the language, they only spend three weeks at the CTM. so they left two nights ago and we miss them very much. We get new Brazilian Elders Tomorrow. I´m sending Mckenna a sample lesson in English and Portuguese. I´ll make sure she sends a copy your way. Tell Dad I love him. I can print in the field but not here at the CTM so I´m scanning all your emails to the best of my ability but I have a limited time to email. I´ll catch up out in the field. The language is coming. I have the First Vision Down in Portuguese and I´ve also memorized the "missionary purpose" from "Pregar Meu Evangelho" (Preach My Gospel) in Portuguese. I miss Asian food and it seems that there´s no such thing as peanut butter around here. Elder Williams has a friend who is coming to the CTM and is attempting to bring many tubs of peanut butter in his suit case. The plan is for me to get one. We´ve had many great firesides and group meetings. I should have packed more shorts. I go through them in Gym. I love you all very much. - Elder Hanson

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Hey Guys. The Mail takes about a week and a half to get from here to home. Two Brazilian holidays slowed down the mail right as I sent the first letter. I can not send pictures until after I leave the CTM. I´m having so much fun. Today we went to the Temple. It`s almost impossible to describe how beautiful the Temple and the grounds are. There´s a stake center and the temple right next to each other. The Stake Center and Temple Grounds both have beautiful gardens and lawns, as well as lots of benches to sit on. Today I went with my companion and my district to Simpatia Gaucha for lunch. It´s like Tacanos. I spent the equivalent of about 12 us dollars. I haven´t spent any other money since I got out here. The meals are great here at the CTM. There´s usually meat and then beans and rice but the meat is always different and there are a lot of fruits and vegetables and endless soda fountains. They serve fresh cut Guava here. It´s good but the seeds are hard. The Mamau (I don´t know how to spell that) is a beautiful looking fruit that tastes awful. So I´ve just described lunch and dinner. There´s also breakfast. The difference with this meal is that they serve Ham and Cheese sandwiches every single morning of every day of every week that we are at the MTC. I´m memorizing whole sentences in Portuguese. I´m starting to understand some scriptures and simple sentences in my study books. When natives try to converse it still makes my head spin but I can pick out a few things. We´ve had a lot of great devotional and firesides here. I sing in the Choir because Elder Hollandsworth wouldn´t have it any other way. I´ve never laughed so hard, so frequently before as I do with my companion and the other Elders in my district. I use the exercise time to the best of my ability. I´ve been eating a lot but I´m consistently losing weight. I´ve lost nine pounds. No worries though, I´m just getting used to the food and running around. The Brazilians love Americans! Many Brazilian elders leave here for the field all the time and always take pictures with us. When I get out in the field I´ll have some fun pictures for you guys. It´s like 80 degrees here. Love - Elder Devin Hanson. 

I'VE ARRIVED! Letter from first day

Copy of handwritten letter written on the day he arrived in Brazil, April 20, 2011:

Dear Mom, Dad and Family,
Sorry for spelling, run-on sentences, I’m rushed and tired. 
The mission is a blast, not as scary or different at first as some might think.  Elder Hollandsworth is my MTC companion, he’s a very nice guy who is goofy in a fun way.  Didn’t sleep in the plane much on the way to Texas.  I met up with some other missionaries besides Hollandsworth and Elder Jensen.  In the airport gate from Texas to Brazil, we met two sister missionaries.  One doesn’t speak any Portuguese and one is fluent so she’s only going to Sao Paulo for 3 weeks, then straight to Santa Maria. We were sitting by a nice Brazilian couple at the gate and they started talking to us so I gave them a pass-along card and told them to visit the Church website for info on their nearest LDS church and missionaries.  It was very positive.  Later, as our flight was heavily delayed, we ended up talking to two people working at sort of an equivalent to 7-11 inside the airport.  We placed pass along cards with both and one especially seemed interested. 
Very soon, a man from Brazil waiting for the flight came up and asked us if we were missionaries and said two weeks earlier he had been taught the discussions by Elders in the states.  He said he likes the church very much.  So, we talked to him about it some more.  Then his friend walked up and was very positive and said that he was not a member of the church but that even as a boy he loved reading the church magazines.  So we gave him a Portuguese Ensign and he liked it.  On the plane, I sat near a different couple than the one I mentioned earlier.  I talked.  First it was about learning the language, then it was about the food and soccer, but soon we talked about how they were going home to their children.  I talked about how important the family is.  I told them how we teach and serve. I game them a “Call for a free Book of Mormon” card.  They asked “”Why do you have another book?”  I bore testimony to them, telling them they could know for themselves.  They said thanks, but I grabbed a Portuguese Book of Mormon.  I knew it could be replaced later so I wrote a heartfelt note inside and gave it to the missionaries to sign and then I gave it to the couple.  They took out their bible and began to compare things with each other.  I waited for questions.  An hour later, the wife invited me to sit in the empty seat by her and she said, “You have to talk to me about this.”  I spoke with her on the long flight from 11:00 to 2:30.  I think she’s coming to Church in her area.  I think her husband will follow and I am so happy and grateful to God.  The plane ride was ten hours.  I didn’t/couldn’t sleep at all.  I drove with the Elders from the airport to the MTC.  It’s surrounded by gates in many places but is such a beautiful building.  The courtyard is amazing.  They have a track in the middle of the building.  I played basketball on the awesome court and eventually I can shop around town nearby with a companion with me.  It’s hot and muggy.  The food’s good, pizza’s weird.  Kitchen is extravagant.  There are many foods and two full soda fountains.  I like the soda Guarana.  When you’re in a car, motorcycles will drive fifty over and honk as they drive in between lanes.  We have a view from our room of so much of the city, very beautiful, especially at night.  Haven’t slept for more than 24 hours.  Love you.  Can’t speak much yet but I’ve learned some from the MANY native elders.  -Devin