Monday, June 27, 2011

It would be nice to know a city name

  Pday is Monday now. Every Six weeks we have a transfer on Wednesday. Been Great. I´ll write fast. Tuesday morning we left for the house of the Mission President in Santa Maria. It was crazy leaving the elders and the teachers that I had gotten to know so well. I hopped on a plane with Elder Hollandsworth and other Elders who were Santa Maria bound.  After the two and a half hour plane ride, we took a bus to the Mission President's house with some Elders waiting for us. These Elders had a transfer as well and were supposed to help us on the trip. They have been out for a bit more than a year and speak Portuguese VERY well. Then we went to the mission President's house and ate some good pizza. They have this dessert pizza that is out of this world and I´ll probably not be able to get anything like it back home. My mission President interviewed me and told me how I´ve been sent here especially for this mission at this time. At the end of the night we all shared short testimonies in Portuguese and the Americans did their best in broken Portuguese. The Elders who had been there for a while sang some song about The Brazil Mission and it´s honestly one of the most beautiful songs I´ve heard. Then we got our new companions (Mine is Elder Andrade, he speaks decent English so he helps me)and went to "The Big House" down the street from the President. It´s a house with a few rooms and a living room type area on the top level and pretty much a garage down below. There’s a bunch of bunks in the garage down below where the Elders on transfer sleep. I slept up stairs with the Elders who are serving in the area and staying in the big house. (I have connections through a Brazilian Elder I met at the MTC who is good friends with me.)
 The next morning we all walked to the Church and had a work shop type thing with our trainers all day. Then we all took buses to our different Areas. I´m two hours bus ride from the Mission President now. Elder Hollandsworth is in my mission and I saw him at the meeting but he´s well far from here. We got to the apartment late and went to sleep. Let´s just say...It´s a dungeon; My first day in the field I studied with my companion and he started to say some things in his best English and I translated them to the best of my ability in Portuguese. The first day was tough and we made some contacts but we´re seeing how those pan out. The next day was better and now we´re going back for more lessons with different people and looking for different investigators. We´ve already taught a lot of lessons. It´s hard because I can definitely get all the major points/drifts of what´s being said but I don´t know too much of what they are saying and it´s tough to interject. I have already made good street contacts in Portuguese and I have asked a few good questions in Portuguese during the lessons as well. I´m getting better at bearing my testimony.
  The first two days it rained so hard and it´s really tough because we walk on these roads that are a bunch of uneven stones placed in the dirt. It´s murder on the feet but my feet are getting tougher and the mole skin I placed in my shoes is working well. It stopped raining yesterday and isn´t raining today either, SUNS OUT!
  Sunday was terrific. I felt the spirit so strongly in Sacrament meeting. They had me go up there and speak a little bit in my best Portuguese and then I sat down. Sunday night contacts were difficult. We were cold and not having much success so we said a few prayers in our hearts and eventually stopped and said one together out loud and some woman instantly just happened to be walking down the street. We asked if we could teach her and her house was close so she had us walk with her to teach her. We taught her the main first lesson and we´re preparing her for baptism. We need to work with her a lot. Pray everything works out! There´s a lot of other people that we have taught about the Apostasy and next lesson we teach them about the Restoration and I´m very hopeful for them.
  It´s impossible to describe here but this place is so ...different. We live in a nice area. We´re on a street full of shops and all around there´s shops and parks and some very nice things but then you go another few blocks over and there´s a horse walking on some bricks roads. Then there will be blocks with very nice houses and across the street there´s very poor houses. Some blocks just have two nice houses or so and then there´s a shack. There will be some undeveloped areas with cobblestones and cows and horses and then a grocery store and normal busy road ways. There´s a grocery store where you can get pretty much everything. We´re budgeting our money and we´ve had some great lunches with the members.
 It´s been the hardest few days of my life. But we have some great things happening with investigators and I think we are hitting our stride and going to see some real commitment. The ward building here is BEAUTIFUL. In some ways their class rooms are nicer than ours. There´s a small entry way. The chapel is on the bottom floor with bathrooms, a kitchen and baptismal font. Then you take stairs ...or an elevator to the top floor with all the classrooms. Outside there´s a parking lot and a basketball court. Today we played basketball at the church and I bought cleaning things because the apartment NEEDED IT! Now things are swimming.
I´ll make sure to write more about everything later. I can´t begin to say everything about the past week here. Love you all.
Brian’s going to ...UTAH? no seriously though... Arizona? Idaho?
[I told him Brian was going stateside and asked him to guess where and told him I wouldn't tell him until next week.  I think he did pretty good at guessing.  -Joy]

Thursday, June 23, 2011


No e-mail from Devin this week.  He left for Santa Maria on June 22!  After a plane ride, he got to call once he arrived at the mission home.  He had no idea at that time what part of the mission he'd be going to the next morning.  He asked about all the family.  He recited part of the Joseph Smith story to me in Portuguese.  In their street contacting around Sao Paulo they weren't able to take people's information.  He's super excited to get out there and share the Gospel with people he can keep in contact with.  He said to tell everyone he loves them!  We're looking forward to getting an e-mail from him next p-day to find out all the details.  We're hoping for pictures.  We think that will be Monday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


We went to churrasco (a Brazilian steak house) today. I love it here and will miss all the elders in my district and just the ones that I see at meals and in comings and goings. I leave Tuesday, I´m really making sure this week counts (not that I wasn´t making good use of time before) while I still have instructors to ask questions. We went to the Temple today and the distribution center.  I got a book full of paintings from all the different scriptures and it was cheap too. I bought a Portuguese triple that has tabs and everything. That was a bit expensive. Last week Elder Hollandsworth and I bought matching ties and we signed the back of them so when we´re not companions anymore we have remember-me-by´s. All in all I haven´t spent much money and I´m having a lot of fun here. It´s hard not to just stop and feel amazed when I see a group of Missionaries and teachers having a good time or doing some good work.  Every day I get so many sweet confirmations that this is a great place to be.  
Street Contact went great. We drove to this down town street with four copies of the Book of Mormon per companionship and we placed three of them. Some very positive reactions. The first man we talked to, we placed one with him. We asked him how much he wanted to be with his family forever and he answered something to the affect of  "For this I would give the entire world." He was reading it as we left.  
I´m not sure if we go to the other Temple on the way. It is very likely that I get to call you from the airport or something when I leave the CTM. I hope things are going well, I´m praying that everything with the whole family gets better and better and I´m praying and studying (hard) to make myself better every day. Let Matt Fowler (Rick can get a hold of him on facebook) know to check my blog to keep updated on things and that I´ll be writing him soon.  I love you all.  The language is making more and more sense but It´ll certainly be a tough first few months. I´ll love every minute of it though, don´t worry. Hope things work with Ricks knee. Tell him to email me. Good luck -
Love Elder Hanson

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Music calms the savage beast - most of the time

Hey Family,
I leave on the 21st of June. I get on a plane with my district and then Elder Hollandsworth and I are the only ones going to Santa Maria so while the rest of the District gets on a connecting flight, we leave the airport on a bus to Santa Maria. Today, some elders came from home and some came from a few weeks at Provo. Some Brazilians and I convinced one of these new Elders that I was from a small town in Bahia. My accent was good enough that I had him going until he saw my name tag and figured it out.  
Good to hear things are going well. I´m praying for uncle Rick and others. On Sunday we had a special fireside before sacrament meeting.  The missionaries (myself included) sang a song called "Ide Por to todo o mundo" it´s solely a Portuguese hymn, I believe. Try to look it up on youtube though. Then we had a Sunday night fireside where we sang a terrific arrangement of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" alternating verses in English and Portuguese.
The chocolate milk was especially good at snack last night. I would hop on a plane every weekend to go to Brazil just for their chocolate milk. I do more street contact this Friday.  Next week we are going to a Brazilian meat house again. We´re going to really have a good time our last p-day together as a district. Hope you´re having a great National Chocolate Ice Cream day. Valentine’s Day is coming up here In Brazil on the 12th. It´s called Dia Dos Namarados.  Roughly translated that´s the day of the Boyfriends. We sing "Called to Serve" three times a week.  Send an ice pick in the mail so I can smite my ears from off of my skull. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Delighted with the work

Exciting to hear from you! Friday I went to the police station with my district and some other elders so that we could get our thumbs printed and our passports/visas verified. The police station is an enormous building with a winding staircase and FULL of people. I placed a Book of Mormon with a woman who spoke four different languages.  Luckily, one of those languages was English. Her two children were there with her and it was a fantastic conversation we had. She had questions in her heart that were the questions we had answers to and she asked them just as we were about to talk to her about them.  She eventually smiled and said, “ I promise I will read and pray about this beautiful book.” Then I tried teaching a Chinese man who spoke no English and very little Portuguese.  He had a wide grin on his face and seemed very interested in all the missionaries running around.  I think I got the point across that he should visit and order a Chinese Book of Mormon.  After that I talked to a man (solely in my best Portuguese) and eventually I was teaching him in this crowded noisy building about the Restoration of The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I recited the first vision in Portuguese from memory with the Spirit strengthening the message.  As I spoke the words they came out powerfully, I was trembling and I know that while I was sharing the message, it almost seemed calm and quiet in the midst of all those people.  I saw in his eyes something that you don´t often enough see in people.  It was the spirit working in him.  I invited him to Church and I´m praying every night that these investigators can keep that same excitement about the Gospel that they had when I taught them.  Street contact didn´t go as well as the police station but towards the end we prayed we could find a person who was ready for the message and we placed a Book or Mormon with a high school student.  I think it went well.  I´m getting better and better at Portuguese and almost forgetting how to talk in English.  Okay... I still talk a lot but things are well.  People are sleep walking through life and I’m going about waking them up.  I’m delighted about the work. 
Elder Williams from my room/district has several tubs of peanut butter and we celebrate with peanut butter and Oreos on special occasions.
 I went to the temple this morning.  It was a very special day.  I love all of you.  Give all of the family my love.   I´m praying for Uncle Ric, for Tyler and for Heather often.  Don’t be sad, Adam’s all around us and you can let Rick know that.  I´m sure Sam was a great missionary, it´s good to hear about him. The Brazilians here are a lot of fun, we lovingly pick on each other and I know many words that aren´t necessarily bad words but are sort of mean. Ha.   I´m studying the Gospel Library Often.  “Our Search for Happiness” is a good book.  I started the other day and am almost done. The distribution center here is awesome and very cheap.  Oh. Peanut butter in a small jar is only sold at the cookie shop across the street and it´s around fifteen American dollars. BARF.
I have you in my prayers, pray for my success out here and for the comfort of the family back home.
Love always - Elder Hanson.