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