Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dear Family,
This week was good. We are teaching some great investigators and we had the baptism of Iago yesterday. It was a really good and the Spirit was very strong at the service. We are teaching a lot of really good people but sometimes struggle with getting them to church. Yesterday was especially difficult because the Corinthians (my soccer team) were playing for the world championship and won!! The game started at 8:15 A.M. and church starts at 9... We new it was going to be rough when we woke up to a bunch of loud fireworks at 6:20 A.M.. There were pretty much constant fireworks going on after that for the rest of the day. We walked to church and lots of people were in the streets with Corinthians flags shouting. It really wasn´t the best time for me because the Corinthians were playing Chelsea (a team from London) for the world championship and all the fanatics in the street thought that I was from England haha. As a matter of fact Elder Bangerter got shouted at a few times by Corinthians fans telling us to go back to England hahahaha. The Corinthians ended up winning 1x0 and when they scored their goal the whole city erupted in cheers and fireworks. It was crazy. We were all in church when the game ended and the whole church building was shaking because of all the noise and the fireworks that were being set off outside. It was nuts. Other than that I don´t have a whole lot of news for this week. We are preparing for Christmas and getting all of our plans set up. I can´t remember if I wrote this in the last email but Elder Bangerter and I bought a little plastic Christmas Tree and decorated it and are planning on putting our packages under it to open on Christmas day. It is no taller than a foot and a half but we decorated it and its pretty funny to look at. We also have our mission Christmas celebration on wednesday and we are doing a white elephant gift exchange with the whole mission so that should be fun.
The work in in Vila Galvão continues to progress as God continues to put people in our path who are ready for the Gospel. I am always amazed at the trust that God has in us every time he puts someone in our path for us to teach. We are having a lot of success and I am really seeing the hand of the Lord in the work. The ward is growing stronger and our recent converts are progressing. A few have already received the priesthood and they are all strengthening their testimonies little by little. It is really awesome for me to see them in church on Sundays. I think for me seeing them at church every Sunday and seeing them answering questions in class or receiving the priesthood is even better than seeing them in the baptismal font.
That´s all I have for this week! I hope everyone is doing well back home and everyone is feeling the Spirit of Christmas!!
Hope everything is going well for you guys and thanks a lot for the emails and packages!

Elder Caleb Anderson

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Phone Call Coming Tonight

Dear Family,
This week was a good last week of the transfers. We will get a phone call tonight from the Zone Leaders telling us if one of us is leaving the area so its possible that today might be my last day with Elder Bangerter. We finished off this week with a baptism yesterday of Rafael (19 years old). He is the cousin of a youth in our ward and we met him at a church activity with his cousin. At first he had some problems with smoking but he was able to overcome his smoking addiction and be baptized yesterday. It was a great baptism, he´s made a lot of mistakes in the past but he was very excited to be baptized and have the chance to start all over and do better this time. Another highlight of the week was a family night that we had at a members house on Friday. We had a family night with an active member family in our ward, two inactive members of the ward, and our investigator named Iago who we have been working with for a long time. Iago received a really strong answer about two months ago that the church was true and that he needed to be baptized. However he has never felt that he is ready for baptism. At the family night we read the story of Christ´s birth in Luke 2 and then we watched the video ´´Finding Faith in Christ´´ about the life of Jesus Christ and the miracles that he performed. Afterwards we bore our testimonies about our Savior Jesus Christ. The Spirit was ver strong and the two inactive members committed to go to church on Sunday and Iago committed to do the baptismal interview. Iago took the interview yesterday and passed so he will be baptized this week. It was a really great family night and really significant for us because we have been working with Iago ever since I got to this area 3 months ago.

Do they have Christmas in Brazil/ What is it like? Yes they definitely have Christmas here but it is not quite the same thing as in the United States. Most families don´t do Christmas trees although some families have the tiny plastic ones. I haven´t seen too many Christmas lights or decorations although every once in a while a house will have them. I don´t know what it´s going to be like on Christmas day but I except all the stores will shut down and everything. I can´t wait for Christmas!! We will have a mission Christmas celebration on the 19th. The whole mission will spend the P-day together and President has different activities planned out. Should be really fun.

That´s about all that I have for this week! Thanks a lot for your emails, letters, and packages!
Elder Caleb Anderson
We got an email a little later saying that neither Caleb nor Elder Bangerter got transferred, so they will be together for a few more weeks at least!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Another Great Week in Vila Galvão

Dear Family,
Thank you for you letters and your encouragement. This week was another great week here in Vila Galvão. The highlight of the week were our baptisms yesterday of Flavio and his son Rian. They are 2 more of God´s elects that are starting down the right path. I will include their story at the end. The work is going well here. All of our baptisms here have been great experiences and each one of them has an amazing story. I can´t believe it´s already December. A week from today we will find out about the transfers!! I really hope that Elder Bangerter and I both get to stay here in Vila Galvão but I think the chances are slim. I think one of us will leave and it will probably be Elder Bangerter. Which is too bad, we´ve had a lot of success here in Vila Galvão and I still feel like we have a lot of work to do. However I think we have built up some momentum here in this ward and if one of us leaves next week the new Elder will be coming into a good situation. Today is P-day and I think we are going to the stake center to play soccer with the other missionaries and some investigators. It´s going to be fun and I think will do Americans vs. Brazilians as usual. Us Americans actually do pretty well against the Brazilians, I´d say it´s about even. Other than that I don´t have too much news for this week. Here are the stories of the amazing baptisms.
Yesterday we had two more baptisms of Flavio and his son Rian. We found Flavio last week when we baptized his son Wanderley. During the baptism he said that God had touched his heart and that he will definitely be baptized one day as well. On Tuesday we went by his house and talked to him and he told us about how 3 years ago he was in a very bad car accident and suffered a severe head injury. He was dead for 5 minutes, all of his family had given up and were on the side of the road crying because they thought he had died. He said that after 5 minutes he miraculously woke, was rushed to the hospital, had his head sown back together, and recovered. After we tought him the Gospel of Jesus Christ he said that he knew God saved his live because he has a purpose here on this earth and that he believes baptism is part of that purpose. He thanked us and told us that God had sent us to him to help him fulfill his mission in life. Yesterday he was baptized with his son Rian and next week he will be confirmed with Rian and his other son Wanderley who we baptized last week. He is a great investigator and you can´t ask for a better baptism than that.
Thanks again for all of your emails, letters and packages!
Elder Caleb Anderson

Monday, November 26, 2012

Awesome Baptism

Dear Family,
Thank you as always for you emails, letters, and support. This week
has been another rough week as far as teaching is concerned. A couple
weeks ago we were teaching close to 40 lessons per week and now we are
struggling to get 20. However we are still trying and I expect this
week will be better. The highlight of this week was the baptism of
Wanderley (18 years old). I don't have a whole lot of time to email
today. However things are still going well here in Vila Galvao. We
have a transfer coming up in about two weeks and I think that either
me or Elder Bangerter will get transferred out of Vila Galvao. I'm
not sure how I feel about it, I kind of want to get a brazilian
companion to improve my portuguese but I kind of want to stay with
Elder Bangerter too because we've been having so much success. We'll
see in a couple of weeks though. Here is the story of Wanderley's

The highlight was the baptism we had yesterday of Wanderley (18 years
old). We met Wanderley at church one day because he is dating the
Bishop's daughter and she brought him to church. From the very
beginning he was very interested in the lessons and was quick to
accept everything that we were teaching him. He didn't have any
problems with the commandments except for coffee which he dropped as
soon as we taught him the Word of Wisdom. When we taught him in his
house we found out that his Mom had already received all of the
lessons about 10 years ago from a pair of sister missionaries and that
she had been to our church several times but had never decided to be
baptized. He also lives with his Dad but his Dad has never been
baptized. On the day of his baptism his Mom, Dad, and little brother
came. The Spirit was very strong in the baptism and in the second
half of the meeting after the ordinance was done, Irma Kleber who was
conducting the meeting asked the Dad if he wanted to say a few words.
The Dad got up and was in tears, he said that while he was sitting
there watching his son enter the water God touched his heart and
that someday he will be doing the same thing that Wanderley is doing.
It was an awesome baptism and we have an appointment marked to teach
the Dad on Thursday.

That's all I've got time for this week! Thanks again for your emails!
Elder Caleb Anderson

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Death of Maria Lucia

Dear Family,
Thank you once again for your emails and letters. This week was a pretty slow week. There is a holiday going on right now so a lot of our investigators and members of our ward left town. We didn´t teach as many lessons as we usually do and spent a lot of time looking for new people to teach. One thing that happened this week though was the death of Maria Lucia. She was 73 years old and had been struggling with cancer for a while so I don´t think that her death came as a surprise to anyone but was still a sad event. She was the first baptism that I had here in the field and maybe the most significant to me. I know I already wrote about the story of her baptism but I want to write about it again this week.
Story of Maria Lucia: I arrived for my first day in the field on Tuesday, September 18th. That day we went over to the house of Lindo Mar because Elder Bangerter wanted to introduce me to them and they were interested to meet the new greenie. We went over to his house and when Lindo Mar answered the door he said ´´Elders will you baptize my mom?´´. We said we would be happy to teach her and went inside and taught her the first lesson. She was a little hesistant to accept it because she had been Catholic all 73 years of her life and wasn´t planning on changing that any time soon. However she said she would pray about the Book of Mormon and ask God if our church was true. She prayed and the next day she told us that she believed our church was true because after she prayed she slept the whole night through in peace and that she hadn´t slept that well in a long time. That Sunday she was baptized by her son Lindo Mar. At the baptism Lindo Mar said that even though his mom had been living at their house for a while, and even though the missionaries had passed by his house many times, he had never felt like he should ask him to teach his mom. However that day when he saw Elder Bangerter and I he said that he felt inspired to ask us to teach his mom. The Spirit was very strong at the baptismal service and afterwards she said that she felt different than before. She was confirmed a few weeks later in sacrament meeting. Last Tuesday we passed by the house of Lindo Mar and Maria Lucia was there, we asked her how she was feeling and she said that she was feeling very well. The next day we got a text message from Lindo Mar saying that she passed away in the hospital on Wednesday morning. She passed away less than two months after being baptized and confirmed.
Other than that this week was pretty slow and there´s not too much to write about. We had interviews with President Ferrin on Thursday. He said we are doing well and that my portuguese is good. I can´t believe its already November! Only a little more than a month until Christmas!
What kind of deserts are common in Brazil? They have a lot of stuff that the U.S. has. Ice-cream is pretty big and we get it pretty often. Chocolate cake is really common. Pie isn´t a common desert at all. They use a lot of fruits down here and one fruit that I really like is Maracujà. They don´t have it in the U.S. but it is yellow/orange on the inside and outside and the inside looks similar to a pomegranate because of all the seeds. They sometimes make ice cream with it or pudding and its really good. It seems like they eat a lot of pudding for deserts.
What is the weirdest thing I´ve eaten? So far I have been fortunate enough to not have a crazy response to this question. I ate grilled chicken hearts at a churrascaria before. And one time we were at a members house and they had a big pot with chicken soup stuff in the pot. While I was stirring the contents of the pot around a big chicken foot came to the surface and kind of made me loose my appetite haha. But other than that I haven´t eaten anything crazy.
Thanks again for all you emails and support!
Elder Caleb Anderson

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Crazy Week

Dear Family,
This week was pretty hectic but it was good. The week started our
with a two day division where I was sent to work with Elder Corrêa
(one of the Zone Leaders) in Gopouva. The first day of the division
(Tuesday) I worked in a trio with Elder Corrêa and Elder de Mendonça
who is my district leader. It was a really long day but I think I
learned some valuable things. I think I learned some portuguese and
also learned some good teaching techniques. Also since Tuesday was
Elder Bangerter´s birthday, one of our good friends Marcelo (a member
of the Gopouva ward) took all three of us back to Vila Galvão and we
had a birthday party for Elder Bangerter. Marcelo had bought Elder
Bangerter a Corinthians soccer jersey and brought a cake and cheese
bread for him. It was fun and Marcelo surprised me and Elder
Cleveland with soccer jerseys too! Mine is a Corinthians one and
Elder Cleveland´s is a São Paulo one. I don´t know if I already told
you guys but a few weeks ago I officially chose Corinthians as my
soccer team, it was a hard decision but I feel more like a Brazilian
now that I have a team. Corinthians is the most popular team here in
the East part of São Paulo and frankly I wouldn´t feel very safe
walking around in a soccer jersey that was anything other than
Corinthians hahaha. So even if Corinthians isn´t the ``safest`` team
to support as far as soccer success goes, I think it´s the ``safest``
team to support as far as walking around on the street goes haha.
Anyways Marcelo got us soccer jerseys last night and then I went back
to Gopouva that night and the next day I was in a trio again with
Elder Corrêa and Elder Cleveland who are the zone leaders. On
Wednesday night I returned to Vila Galvão and Thursday morning we hadportuguese lessons. Marcelo (the member from Gopouva who gave me the
soccer jersey) is a successful english professor and gives people
english lessons for his living. However sometimes he also teaches
foreigners portuguese and so every Thursday he comes over and teaches
me, and any of the other missionaries who want to come, portuguese.
It´s really helpful and he said he really likes teaching me because I
am the first person he has ever taught who came straight from the U.S.
so he said he is learning a lot about how to teach the basics. He
also said that since he´s started giving the portuguese lessons to the
missionaries his salary has increased by 30 percent and that he won´t
let us stop taking them hahaha. I´m grateful to have him as a teacher
because it´s really helping me a lot.
We had two baptisms yesterday of two men, Carlos(22) and Denilson(19).
They are the first men that I´ve baptized and Elder Bangerter has
nine months on the mission and these were the first men that he has
baptized as well so yesterday was a big day for both of us. Both
Carlos and Denilson have girlfriends who are members of the church so
both of them randomly came to church one day. They were both really
excited to learn and they both accepted baptism on their first
lessons. Denilson was ready to be baptized about a month ago but
could never get a Sunday of work until yesterday so yesterday we
finally had the baptism. Carlos showed up to church three weeks ago
and we gave him a Book of Mormon after sacrament meeting. By the time
we had a first lesson with him on that Saturday he had already read 40
pages of the Book of Mormon, by his baptism he had already read 100
pages. At random times during the week Carlos would call us or send
us text messages with questions about verses that he read. It was
really awesome and his questions were really easy until he got into
the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi and then they got considerably harder
hahaha. However we were able to come up with answers for all of them.
Both Denilson and and Carlos commented after their baptisms that they
felt like they had more energy. It is always awesome to ask our
investigators how they feel right after baptism and to hear their
responses. They were both rock solid investigators and I really hope
that they will stay active in the chruch although I worry about
Denilson because he job requires him to work 2/3 of Sundays. However
I´ll pray for him and maybe we can work with him to try and help him
find a better job.
One spiritual story to wrap this email up. A few weeks ago we were at
a members house teaching an investigator. Another member (a 12 year
old boy with no family in the church) happened to be there at the
house. After the lesson he told us that his grandma lived close by
and that her arm was seamstress. However because she used a sowing
machine all day she had chronic pain in the arm. He asked us if we
could come give her a Priesthood blessing for her arm. We went to the house and taught the grandma and the grandpa the restauration and
afterwards gave the grandma a priesthood blessing. The Spirit was
very strong during the lesson and during the blessing and after
leaving I was sure that the grandma´s arm would be cured and that both
the grandparents would eventually be baptized. However this we still
have not been able to teach the grandparents again and it looks like
we might never be able to. However in the last fast and testimony
meeting the 12 year old boy got up and bore his testimony about how he
now knew the church was true. He said the reason that he knows the
church is true is because when the Elders were at his house they gave
his grandma a priesthood blessing and that he felt something different
while they were giving the blessing. He said he felt something
different and he knows it was the Holy Ghost, because of this he knows
the Church is true. It was then that I realized that the reason we
went to that house might not have been to bless/convert the
grandmother or the grandfather but the reason we were in that house
was to bless/convert the 12 old boy who was already a member. It was
a witness to me that God´s ways are higher than our ways and his
thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
Thanks you as always for all of the encouragement through your letters
and emails!
Hope you are all well! I can´t wait for Christmas when I get to skype home!

Elder Caleb Anderson

Monday, November 5, 2012

Elder Bangerter and I both stayed in Vila Galvão!

Dear Family,
Thank you all for your emails and letters! This week has been a good one. This past week was really awesome because we baptized a really great kid named Fabio and also received packages! We got the news on Monday night that Elder Bangerter and I would both be staying in Vila Galvão so we were both really excited about that. So we´ve got at least 6 more weeks together in this area. One Tuesday we went to the mission office with the Zone Leaders and picked up our packages and more Book of Mormons and pamphlets. I got the package and photos from Mom, and the package from Ariel. I can honestly say that out of all the days of my mission, the day I got those packages was in the top 5. It was so good to get some American candy/snacks!!! I didn´t realize how much I missed that stuff but man it was awesome to receive. Elder Bangerter got a lot os candy too so we´ve been giving out starburst and jolly ranchers to a lot of our investigators. They all think Starburst are the best! so the pst week we´ve basically been living off of those packages. This past week we worked a lot and were blessed with some really good investigators. We are teaching a lot of men right now which is good. President Ferrin thinks its really important to try and baptize men who are 18 or older. Also tomorrow is Elder Bangerter´s birthday! I think one of our investigators has something planned for him but unfortunately I won´t be there for it because I am giong to Gopouva tonight on an exchange with the Brazilian zone leader.  Other than that and Fabio´s baptism there´s not too much news this week. I hope everyone is well and thanks again for your emails and letters! Here is the story of Fabio´s baptism.
This week was very rewarding and was another confirmation that Vila Galvão is the area that I am supposed to be in. Yesterday we baptized a 16 year old boy named Fabio. Fabio has been attending church, seminary, and mutual for a year and a half but has never wanted to be baptized. He said he mostly just goes to seminary and church because he has friends that are members, however he never wanted to be a member himself. Just about every missionary that has passed through this area in the last year and a half has tried to baptize Fabio but he never felt like it was right for him. When I first got here to this area Elder Bangerter and I tried to teach him 3 or 4 times, and our lessons were always about the importance of baptism. However every time we started talking about baptism he would close up. He would start giving us one-word answers and would always insist that he needed to KNOW the church was true before joining it. He said he had prayed many times about the church and the Book of Mormon but had never received a response. I was convinced that the reason he wasn´t receiving a response was because he didn´t really want one, and I was just about ready to give up trying to baptize him. However one day he came to the church for seminary and we decided to teach him one more time. This lesson was different, started out just talking to him about normal stuff and asking him about his life. All of a sudden he came out and told us about his situation with his family at home. He talked about how his family is divided between different religions and how his parents fight about the subject a lot. He said he had tried other religions but felt that they were all trying to deceive him. He told us that he really liked our church and felt that it was different but never wanted to join because he was afraid of being deceived again. We started reading him the story of Joseph Smith and how Joseph Smith was in almost the exact same situation. Afterwards we started applying it to his situation and before long he was in tears. The Spirit was very strong and he said he would come to church on Sunday, take the sacrament (something he had never done before), and make his decision about baptism at church. We promised him that he would feel the same Spirit on Sunday at church. That Sunday he told us that he felt the Spirit very strongly and decided to be baptized. His baptism was awesome and afterwards he said that he felt a different feeling that he had never felt before. I am sure that the reason our early attempts (and the attempts of all the other missionaries) didn´t work because all we ever did was talk about the importance of baptism instead of actually addressing the investigators real problem. It was a very significant baptism for us and showed me that when we look at our investigators as people, instead of numbers, we are going to have the help of the Spirit and will have a lot more success.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Power is back on!

Dear Family,
As always thank you for your emails and letters. Things are really starting to pick up here in Vila Galvão. Last Monday night we finally got our electricity turned back on which was nice to have lights again and not be taking cold showers. This last week was the last week of my first transfer!! It seems like a long time ago that I left the CTM but at the same time it seems like this transfer flew by! Anyways today is the last day of the transfer which means right now President Ferrin is probably finalizing the decisions about where everyone will get sent. Tonight we will get a call from the zone leaders telling is if one of us is getting sent to another area! Elder Bangerter and I are both really hoping to stay. We work well together and we still have a lot of work to do here in this ward. When we got here we were kind of fighting an uphill battle because this ward has been through A LOT.The members had no trust in the missionaries at all. However Elder Bangerter and I went to work and showed the members that we really wanted to help. We worked with the members a lot and did a lot of family home evening with them and other activities to try and get them excited about missionary work. We started getting more and more references from the members and were blessed for our hard work. This last Sunday we had even had 10 investigators in church!!! I don´t know for sure but I expect that we broke a record for this area. I contribute the success on Sunday to the mission wide fast we took part in on Thursday. I wrote President Ferrin about the results of the fast in my weekly email to him so I am just going to copy the part about the fast.
I know that the mission-wide fast really made a difference for us. I have definitely felt the Spirit stronger since the fast and I know that our investigators can feel the difference too. We have been teaching a family named the Machado´s for a couple weeks and on the day of the fast we had a great lesson with them. I´m not going to lie, going into the lesson I didn´t feel any different than usual, except maybe being hungrier and thirstier than normal. However soon after we said the opening prayer the Spirit in the room was really strong and we had a really good lesson with them. The whole family was asking questions the whole time and responding to questions just how we wanted them to. After the lesson as we were leaving the Mom of the family and the daughter followed us to the street and stood there on the curb for 2 or 3 minutes just watching us walk away. The next morning soon after we broke our fast they called us just to say how much they enjoyed the lesson and that they were very excited to have us over again. I know that they could feel a big difference whenever we walked into their house and whenever we left it as well and I know it was because of the fast. Another way that we saw the results of the fast was at church on Sunday. It was the best Sunday ever!! We had 10 investigators there and they are all really good investigators who are interested in the Gospel. We had 10 people there, most of them had never been to church before, but somehow all of our investigators knew someone in our ward. They all felt welcome and after sacrament meeting they all stayed around talking to the members and to each other for almost half an hour! Our investigators stayed longer than all of the members! That was another result of our fast. Things are looking really good right now for us and I know we have been blessed for our hard work and sacrifices.
That´s about all the news for this week. I am pretty nervous to see what happens tonight with the transfers. I am almost positive that I will stay in this area but I don´t know if Elder Bangerter will stay or go. Here are responses to some questions I got in the emails.
Where do you use the computer? We use the computers at Lan Houses. I think in the U.S. they call them internet cafés. It´s just a place that has a lot of computers and we pay per hour to use them. It´s not too expensive and it´s really close to our apartment.
Does Brazil have Halloween? I´m going to go with no. Nothing like what we do in the U.S.. They do call October 31st Dia das Bruxas but they don´t do trick or treating or dress up. Actually I don´t think they really do anything at all but I guess I´ll find out for certain on Wednesday.
 a testimony and doesn´t realize how important it is. You can´t give him a testimony but maybe you can find a way to help him get one for himself.
Thanks again for all of your emails, letters, support, and prayers!
Elder Caleb Anderson

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

No Electricity...

Dear Family,
This week has been another fun and inspiring week in the mission
field. We had a baptism yesterday of a girl named Heliza. She is 11
years old and wanted to get baptized before we even started teaching
her because she has a lot of family in the church. She was baptized
yesterday by a man in our ward named Iilton, I think they are related
but I´m not sure how. I also did a division this week where one of
the zone leaders came to Vila Galvão and worked with Elder Bangerter
while I got sent the nearby area of Gopouva. So I spent the day with
a Brazilian from Gopouva named Elder Soares de Souza and then at night
I slept in the Gopouva apartment with Soares and two other Brazilians.
It was an interesting transfer, I can´t say I learned a whole lot
about missionary work from those guys but I did learn some Portuguese.
When I got back to Vila Galvão there was no electricity in our
apartment. Aparently the missionaries before us didn´t pay the
electricity bill for like 4 months and so they cut our
electricity...It was cut on Wednesday and has been out ever since
haha. The mission secretaries said they would pay it but either they
still haven´t paid it or it takes the electrecity company a few days
to get it turned back on. However, in the meantime we are really
making good use of that flashlight that I packed haha. It´s not too
bad though. Also we have been finding a lot of new people to teach
lately. There were two new men that showed up to church yesterday
that we had never taught before. We taught both of them for the first
time and we marked a date for baptism with both of them.
Investigators here in Vila Galvão are coming out of the woodwork.
This area has a reputation in the mission as being really difficult
because none of the Elders here baptized for over 4.5 months. I think
it was because they were all huge slackers. But now we are working a
lot harder and are starting to have success. It is really exciting to
be here in this area right now because after having a lot of slackers
here in the past the members never passed any references. But now
that the members see that Elder Bangerter and I are working hard they
are all willing to give us references of friends and family.
The three families that we are teaching are doing alright.
Unfortunately one of them is kind of slipping aways from us. They
don´t really want to go to church on sunday or keep their commitments.
Also the daughter takes the things that we teach her and goes and
talks to pastors about it. Then when we come back she kind of tries
to argue with us about it. We are going to give them one more week
before we cut them though. But the other two families are progressing
so hopefully we can continue to work with them.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Dear Family,
This week was good. I thought last week was nerve wracking with my first baptism and all but it was nothing compared to this week. Last week I baptized Larissa and I was expecting Elder Bangerter to do the confirmation but then he told me on Saturday that I was going to be doing it! I was so nervous to confirm someone in Portuguese in front of the whole ward but it turned out great and I know Larissa was happy about it. She is doing really well and is already trying to share the gospel with all of her friends and family. We are teaching her grandpa right now and also are working with her aunt. Their family invited us to a churrasco that they had on Saturday and we met a lot more of her family and the food was REALLY good. This week was exciting because we are teaching three families right now. All of which I could see getting baptized sometime in the near future. This week showed me how the Lord works in mysterious ways and we find people to teach in really weird ways too. We found one family really good family at McDonalds (McDonalds here are a lot different from in the States!). I was trying to order some french fries but the lady didn´t understand me so two people next to me in line, who were about my age and spoke some english, helped me out. Their whole family was there so after we ate we went and talked to them and the Mom said she had been wanting to come to our church for a while and invited us over to talk to them about our church. We taught them (the Machado´s) on Saturday about the plan of salvation and it went really well. They seemed really interested about eternal families and the daughter even started crying during the lesson. There was a really good spirit there and they invited us back for another appointment this week. They are a really great family and all of the kids speak english so that is cool. My portuguese is improving but it is still really awesome to meet people who speak english. In fact, this week we were eating lunch with a 91 year old lady in our ward. She´s 91 but she´s still really active and her mind is still pretty sharp, she is even trying to learn english and is taking english classes at a popular english school here called Wizard. The school is really close to our chapel and sometimes we do contacts near it because the people like to practice their english with us. Anyways this 91 year old lady said that she had given a Livro de Mormon to her instructor and wanted us to come talk to him about the book and to see how fluent he was in english hahaha. We went to her class with her and the professor was friendly and pretty good at english but he didn´t seem to interested in our message. He introduced us to his director (who also spoke english) because he thought that his director would be interested. However he didn´t seem very interested either and introduced us to another professor there! It kind of seemed like they were all just trying to hand us off to other people but the third professor the we talked to was very interested and lives in our area so we will be teaching her this week! Both of these stories are kind of uncommon ways to find an investigator but it showed us how the Lord puts people in our paths to teach that we never expect. I am excited about how things are going here in Vila Galvão. The ward is really excited about missionary work and we are getting alot of references. We are also working with three families which is really excited. I think it would be really awesome to baptize a complete family and I think we have a chance with all three of these families. That´s about it for this week. Thanks again for all your letters and emails, I really enjoy them.
Elder Caleb Anderson

Monday, October 8, 2012

First Baptism

Dear Family and Friends,
Wow the weeks are passing really fast since I got to the field. This week I want to write about my first time ever baptizing someone. Yesterday after the first session of conference I baptized Larissa. Elder Bangerter and I met here because she was a reference from one of the ward missionaries. She was good friends with this ward missionary and told the ward missionary that she would like to be baptized! So Elder Bangerter and I started teaching her and she was really receptive to the gospel. She accepted all of the doctrines and commandments very quickly. Even after the first lesson she was always trying to bring her friends with her to be taught as well. This last week leading up to the baptism she was really excited and talked about it to all of her friends. She lives with her Grandma but her Dad lives pretty close by and was not very fond of the idea of her being baptized into our church. However he permitted her to be baptized (although we didn´t really need his permission because she lives with her grandma and her grandma already authorized it). Because yesterday was conference weekend we had to go all the way to the stake center to see the conference and everyone in the zone was supposed to have their baptisms there. We were a little worried about this because it was so far and Larissa had never been there before. Elder Bangerter and I were planning on riding with Larissa and her family to the stake center for conference/baptism but we word that morning that someone in her family had been injured and that she and all her family were in the hospital however they were still plannning on coming to the baptism. We got a ride to conference from someone else and then waited for them there. We were really worried that they weren´t going to show up (we had been concerned that the Dad would try and do something to stop it). But Larissa, her parents, grandparent, aunt, cousin, and friend from school all showed up just in time for the baptism. The service went fairly smoothly all though I think it was clear that it was my first time baptizing someone. In fact looking back on it there were a lot of signs that I am a greenie hahaha. For one that morning I was in a nervous rush to get out the door and I accidently grabbed the suitcoat that didn´t match my pants. Also I was so nervous during the baptismal prayer that my voice was shaking like crazy. And I almost slipped in the water and just about baptized myself as well hahaha. But all in all the baptism went really well and was a great first baptism to have. She was strongly supported by the members in the ward and by her family so I think she has a good chance of staying firm in the church. I don´t have too much to time to write more but the baptism was a really spirtitual experience and I really hope that all the rest of my baptisms can be as good as that one was. I will send pictures soon.
The announcement about the new age for missionaries was crazy!! I think a lot of the missionaries out here right now with younger girlfriends are kind of upset about it hahaha. In fact like half an hour ago my zone leader Elder Cleveland was on the computer watching the announcement made by President Monson about the new age for sister missionaries. After President Monson made the announcement the camera turned to look at the crowd´s reaction. They zoomed in on two girls who were crying and hugging each other because they were so happy and one of them was his girlfriend!!!! hahahahahaha. Man it was funny. I don´t know how much hope he had of seeing her still there when he gets back but I think right now he has a lot less hahaha. Things are going pretty good here in Vila Galvão, we are working a lot with the members and receiving good references. My portuguese is improving every day.
Are the Brazilians pretty friendly to Americans? Tough question. From what I´ve noticed there seems to be two attitudes concerning americans. The brazilians either hate us and are really rude to us or they are think we are the coolest people they´ve ever met. Although sometimes I can´t tell if the bad treatment we get is because we are american or just because we are missionaries, or probably its a combination of the two. However for the most part the people who don´t like are just jealous but most of them warm up to us once we tell them that we live here and are going to stay here for two years and are just trying to teach the gospel. In that way it´s really similar to the story of Ammon and King Lamoni (but don´t worry mom we haven´t been tied up or thrown in prison). However the vast majority of the people are really friendly to us and are curious as to why we are here. The members love us and are really great. So I guess the answer to the question is that it depends on which one.
Got to go. Thanks a lot for your emails and letters.
Elder Caleb Anderson

Friday, October 5, 2012

Week 2 in the Field

Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you all for your letters and emails!  I love hearing the news from home.
This week has been a lot of work but pretty rewarding as well.  We did a lot of street contacts this week and found a lot of people who seemed sincerely interested in the gospel only to find out later that they gave us a wrong address or phone number.  We even contacted 2 girls at the lake who seemed really interested and then when we tried to call the number they gave us they always hung up.  Finally we tried to go by their house only to find out that they had given us the address of their uncle who is a Jehovah´s Witness hahaha.  It was kind of annoying at first but pretty funny afterwards.  However we did have some success because we are teaching a girl named Larissa who is a friend of a member in our ward.  She is really excited to learn about the gospel.  We have her baptism marked this Sunday right after general conference.  I don´t think general conference will make too much of a difference for my schedule.  It will be a little difficult though because any baptisms that are going to be done need to be done at the stake center which is a lot farther than our chapel.  However I think we will only have Larissa so it shouldn´t be too difficult to figure out the tranportation.  
All the missionaries are supposed to watch the Sunday morning session of general conference but to watch the other sessions we are supposed to have an investigator with us.  On Sunday morning we will go to the stake center and watch conference.  I heard they have a seperate room with a TV for anyone who wants to watch it in English.  
On Tuesday we did a split and I worked with one of our Zone Leaders here in Vila Galvao.  His name is Elder Cleveland and he was Elder Bangerter´s trainer.  I like him a lot and learned a lot from doing the exchange.  My area is a pretty nice neighborhood compared to most of the areas in this mission.  There are some really nice parts in it with some big houses however we also have a couple favelas.  However we don´t really work in the favelas because they are one the very edge of our area which requires a 30-45 minute to get to the chapel.  The past missionaries have found that their time doing street contacts was better served if they did contacts near the church because the people in the favela often don´t have cars and the chances of one of them walking 30 minutes to church is slim.  Our apartment is in a pretty good place.  We don´t use the bus too much in our area because we can walk just about anywhere that we want to go.  I am pretty much used to all the walking that we do.  The chapel is only a 10-15 minute walk from our apartment.  So far we´ve been getting fed really well.  Beans and rice have been a part of every meal but they haven´t been the main course.  So far in the field I´ve only eaten brown beans no black beans.  The weather here is good.  It gets pretty cool at night but it feels really nice in the day.  That´s about all I have to report for this week.  I know that Elder Bangerter and I will be blessed with more success soon if we keep working hard.
Pai- Obrigado por sua email.  It sure sounds like you are staying busy with you church callings and volunteering for the community.  Did you get the link I sent you? I really liked that video.  I hope Mitt Romney does well.  Everyone down here knows who Obama is and most know about Romney.  They are all Obama supporters just because he´s not white hahaha.  Also I was thinking about you the other day because our ward had cleaned the church and it was quite a bit different than the Saturday morning ones we did back home.  There was a really big turnout and they were VERY thorough.  The members down here are really happy to serve.  People viewed cleaning the church as more of a fun activity than an assignment.  There was food and everyone brought their families.  Then afterwards the bishop did a big bar-b-que in the parking lot!  It was pretty cool to see. Elder Bangerter and I cleaned for about an hour or so to do our service. My mission has a list of approved movies that we can watch and the Best Two Years is on there.  So Me, Elder Bangerter, and Elder Cleveland watched part of the Best Two Years last night and the movie has a completely different meaning now haha.  I feel exactly like the greenie in that movie.  It´s really funny. 

Right before the baptism of Maria Lucia by her son Lindo Mar.

This is a picture of our mission ``family line`` for Elder Schenk. On the mission they call the missionary who trained you your Dad, and therefore whoever trained him is your Grandpa. It gets kind of complicated and a lot of missionaries are really into it. But anyways here is a picture of my missionary ``family line``. I am on the left, my trainer Elder Bangerter is on the right, and then our zone leader Elder Cleveland who is Elder Bangeter´s trainer is on the left. Elder Cleveland´s trainer was Elder Schenk who is the missionary who got hit by a bus. I don´t know if you heard about it. He served in my mission but the accident happened before I came to the field. He went home in a comma and was unable to talk or move for a while but he is recovering now. Anyways we took this picture the night of the transfer when Elder Cleveland was staying with us. We drew Elder Schenk in at the end and labeled him the Great-Grandpa haha. He is recovering but is still in pretty bad shape so we sent him this picture. We thought he would enjoy this picture of his missionary descendants.
A picture of me schooling Elder Bangerter in a Brazilian card game. 

Me and Elder Bangerter

This is us putting the peanut to work in our apartment.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

First Week in the Field!!!

Dear Family and Friends,
Thanks again for all you emails and letters! I am still working on writing some of you back. The first week in the field has been awesome!!! My Trainer is Elder Bangerter as I already said. He is from California/St. George Utah and is from a family of 5 boys. He played football and basketball in high school and played football at Dixie St. College before coming on the mission. He has been out for 6 months and his portuguese is really good. He´s a good missionary, we get along really well, and is willing to work so I´m glad he´s my trainer. I was really worried that I´d get a bad one. He looks exactly like Tom Cruise! Even more than Zach Leininger!!! It´s crazy that I´ve known two people who look exactly like Tom Cruise. He says he´s already had brazilians here come ask him for his autograph they can´t tell any difference. Also I´m really glad I got a companion who speaks english. I might not learn the language as fast with him as I would with a brazilian but it´s really nice to be able to just talk normally when we´re in the apartment. Also, Elder Bangerter and I baptized someone yesterday!!! Her name is Maria Lucia and is 73 years old. I will type up the story at the end of the email because it´s awesome. I have learned a lot of Portuguese in the last week. Hopefully I can keep learning at this pace. Whenever we teach I can understand almost everything but whenever we are just having normal conversations it´s really hard. Church on Sunday was difficult because we had a couple investigators there and I was trying to stay with them and show them where to go and stuff but I could barely talk to them.
The ward that I´m in is awesome. We have a lunch appointment every day this month (here they do lunch appointments every day instead of dinner). Usually we don´t eat dinner until we get back to the apartment around 9:30. Mostly because we want to be able to teach people during that time. The youth in our ward have helped us out a lot with finding people to teach. I feel like a lot of the adults don´t have a whole lot of trust in us. A lot of them really like us but I think they a cautious to give us references because this area has had kind of a rough past as far as missionaries go. But we do a lot of activities with the members and try to serve them to gain their trust. This past week the ward had ward activities every night of the week because this week was their ward conference. We went to all the activities to get to know the members. I was really grateful for that too because my feet were killing me the first couple days haha. We walked so much. A lot of our appointments fall through so the result is a lot of walking around and not a lot of teaching. It´s kind of annoying. In the States if you contact someone on the street and they aren´t interested I think they would normally just say no or slam a door in your face. Here they always say yes but will most of the time just give you a fake address or phone number. Or just not keep their appointments. So that is a little frustrating but we still had some really good lessons this week and some great experiences. Here are three miracles (not the only miracles but my favorite ones) that happened this week. This is copied from my letter to President Ferrin (who is really cool by the way).
Miracle number 1. When Elder Bangerter and I were on the bus coming back from the mission home on Tuesday we were sitting on the bus speaking in English to each other. A random guy came and asked us where we are from. He was Brazilian but spoke english well enough that we could communicate with him. We started asking him what he knew about our church and he said that he had been given a Book of Mormon by the missionaries once before and had already read it all the way through and was about halfway through reading it again when he lost it. We didn´t have one to give him with us but we did visit him once this week and gave him another one and have another appointment set this week to talk about the Plan of Salvation. To me this was a miracle that the first person I met in the field was someone who was so prepared and even spoke Enlish. 2. There is a woman in our area who has two daughters who are both members and ever since her daughters joined the church the missionaries have been trying to give her the lessons but she has always refused. This week Elder Bangerter and I were walking to an appointment when Elder Bangerter stopped and said he felt like we should go try and give her a lesson. We went to her house and she accepted to her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then afterwards we gave her a summary of all the other lessons we have to teach her. She said she was interested in the Plan of Salvation so we taught her that lesson to. We are going back this week to teach her more. I know Elder Bangerter´s decision was inspired and it was a small miracle that she finally accepted to here the lessons. 3. My first day in the mission field we went to visit a member family so that I could introduce myself to them. When we got there the father of the family asked us if we would baptize his mother who lives with them. She is 73 years old, has cancer, and is in very bad health. I think she weighs 70 lbs at most. She had already been to church 3 times with her son and so we taught her all the lessons this week and baptized her on Sunday. She was baptized by her son Lindo Mar (I was really glad he accepted to do it because honestly I didnt want to baptize someone that frale who is in such bad health). At the baptism her son said that even though his mother had been living with them for several weeks and the missionaries had passed through their house many times he never asked them to teach her. But when he saw us on Tuesday (my very first day in the field) he felt inspired to ask us to teach his mother. It was a sign to me that Vila Galvao is the area I am supposed to be in.
That´s about all I have for this week. I will probably send pictures of the baptism and me and my trainer tomorrow because we have to drop the pictures off to the famliy of Maria Lucia so I will probably send them here. Also whoever made ``The Best Two Years`` totally nailed it.
Love you all and hope you are all well,
Caleb Anderson

First Day in the Field

Dear Family,
I made it to the field!!! This morning I left the CTM at 530 am at went to the mission home with 10 other elders. 5 were american. Right now I am in a members home sending a quick email just to say that I made it alright and everything is going well. My trainers name is Elder Bangerter. he is an American from California/St. George Utah. Before the mission he played football at Dixie State College. He is a great guy and I think we will have a lot of success. Out area seems great. Everyone that Ive met so far has been really nice. I got my stuff dropped off at the apartment and we already taught our first lesson. The members whose home we are at right now have a mother/grandmother living in the house and they want her to be baptized so today we taught the restoration. We are about to eat dinner soon. Sorry for the punctuation but I am using a brazilian keyboard and its a little bit different. I am really excited to finally be in the field and have the opportunity to teach people. I^ve got to go now.
Elder Caleb Anderson

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Last MTC Email!

Dear Family and Friends,
This week was packed full of stuff so I might have trouble getting it all into this email. Last Friday was Brazil's independance day so the food was really good here at the CTM and there was even an Ice Cream Buffet! It's the first time since I left that I've had ice cream and it was pretty good. The flavors of ice cream were really good but not nearly as strong as normal ice cream. I don't know if it is a Brazil thing or a CTM thing. Although I heard that ice cream isn't very big here in Brazil. Sunday was great, the Spirit was really strong all day long. It's kind of weird but with the exception of P-days Sundays are my favorite days of the week here at the CTM. Also another really cool thing about Sunday was that the evening devotional was given by President Ferrin who is the president of my mission. He spoke on the importance of hard work if you want to have success. His whole talk was in portuguese and he refused to let it be translated. Every other speaker that has come here has had their talks translated so that everyone can understand but he refused to have his translated. Fortunately I was able to understand pretty much everything he said so I didn't really care but I think some of the other Americans who haven't been here as long were a little upset. After his talk me and the rest of the Sao Paulo East guys went and met him and talked to him a little while. We didn't talk to him for too long though, I think he was glad to meet us but didn't really feel like talking for to long since we'll all be heading for the field in less than a week. Probably the coolest part of the week was on Monday when our district got to go outside the CTM and do street contacts. Every person in our district was given two Book of Mormons to try and place. It was really intimidating at first but Elder jensen and I prayed beforehand for the Spirit and the Gift of Tongues to help us. When we first got out of the CTM we started walking down the street and there were three Brazilian kids walking behind us who all were about 16 or 17 years old. We decided to talk to them and first we talked to thing about normal stuff like why we were here in Brazil, how long we've been here, and how long we are staying. Then we started talking about the Gospel and one of them seemed really interested and the other two were mildly interested. We taught them for almost 25 minutes about the Book of Mormon. We gave the Book of Mormon to the kid who seemed most interested and he said he would read the introduction and then call the missionaries after if he had more questions. The rest of the time we spent just walking around talking to random people. We placed all 4 Book of Mormons. i could feel the Spirit helping me understand what the people were saying and giving me questions to ask them. I was able to speak much faster and more fluently than ever before and could understand most of what people were saying to me. I don't know if anything will come out of the Book of Mormons that we placed but it was really encouraging to have this experience before leaving for the field. I can't wait to get out there and start teaching more real people. Next week we get to go do street contacts again but this time we get to go downtown instead of right next to the CTM.
Got to Go!
Elder Caleb Anderson      

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Yes, I'm still in the MTC...

Dear all,
Thanks again for you emails and letters. This will probably be a short letter since the past week has been somewhat uneventful. This week we got a new teacher for our morning classes instead of Irmao Viana and this new guy is really, really strict. I think he's supposed to whip us in to shape for the field. He is a really big guy and doesn't put up with anything. At first it was a little bit annoying but I actually kind of like him now because we learn a lot more with him teaching us and I think he will prepare us for the field a lot better. I did like Irmao viana a lot though so it's too bad that he's gone. Also another set of Brazilian roommates has been sent to the field so right now it's just the four Americans in my room until tomorrrow when new Brazilians arrive. I don't think I'm going to miss this set of roommates a whole lot. They both had really weird sleeping schedules and would usually wake the rest of us up really early in the morning. Anyhow I think they will both do well in the field and wished them the best before they left. This morning we went to the Sao Paulo Temple again except this morning we had so many Elders going that we weren't all going to fit in one session. They asked if there was anyone who would volunteer to do sealings so me and a couple other Elders in my district volunteered. It was a good experience and my portuguese is good enough to understand pretty much everything that was going on. Not a whole lot else happened this week so I think I'll just use the rest of the email time to answer some questions that have been asked.
How is my Portuguese coming? I'm pleased with my progress with portuguese. I'm definitely nowhere near fluent yet but I've come a long way since I arrived. I remember when I was on the flight over here and I couldn't understand a word anyone was saying. Now I feel like I can say a few things and could at least communicate with people. The main problem is that the vocabulary we learn here at the CTM has a lot to do with church stuff so when I try to talk to the Brazilians about non-church stuff it is really difficult. Also I think it's frustrating for the Brazilians because they have to speak really slowly and explain a lot of words. But every week we have teaching workshops where 2 or 3 Americans team up with 2 or 3 Brazilians and we all teach a fake investigator. My first week I couldn't understand a single word but this last week I was contributing quite a bit to the lessons and even talked more than some of the Brazilians. I still don't understand every word but I understand to piece together what they're trying to say.
Am I still playing basketball? Lately I've started playing a lot more volleyball and I like it a lot. I'm getting a lot better and it's really fun when you actually play volleyball with/against people who know how to play. It would be fun to take a class at BYU and learn how to play really well. But yes I still play basketball every once in a while. Most of the Brazilians are awful and basketball but there was a new one that came in this week who is pretty good. It was pretty funny because the hoops here at the CTM aren't too great and the other day this Brazilian dunked the ball and brought the rim down! Hahaha it was great.
Have I had any spiritual experiences yet? Yes I feel ver close to the spirit and have had some spiritual experiences. One memorable one was when we watched Elder Holland speaking at the Provo MTC and he talked about missionary work and how this mission is more for us than anything else. One quote that I really liked was he said "in order for your mission to be a success you need to have a least one convert, and that convert had better be you". It was a really powerful talk and I felt the Spirit very strongly. Also fast Sundays here are really awesome. We fast from Lunch on Saturday to Lunch on Sunday and the Spirit in the CTM is really strong, especially during the fast and testimony meetings. My testimony has really grown since I got here and I attribute a lot of that to fast Sundays. Another cool spiritual experience was when Elder Jensen sprained his ankle and it got really black and blue and swollen. That night me and my other american roommates gave him a priesthood blessing, I don't remember a lot about the blessing but I remember blessing him that the injury would not slow him down at all and that he would be able to continue his studies as normal. Throughout the rest of the week his ankle and the rest of his foot was huge and was one of the worst sprains I've seen but he was able to walk on it just fine. In fact during gym time he was still able to play volleyball and spike the ball on people! He said it hurt him during lunch and free time but when he started studying the pain would always go away. Maybe it was a miracle maybe not but I believe that the Priesthood blessing definitely helped.
Well that's all I have time for.
Love you all and thanks again for you letters,
Elder Caleb Anderson

Thursday, August 30, 2012

1 More MTC Week Down

Dear Family,
Thanks for the emails and letters. I always like to hear from home. This week was a less than average week at the CTM because I was sick for most of it. Fortunately days here at the CTM are never very strenuous so I recovered quickly and am feeling a lot better about it. last week I wrote a little bit about the roommate we have from the Amazons. This week we've all gotten to know him a little bit better. He seems to be enjoying the CTM and he is always friendly. He's a little strange though. We noticed that he always goes to sleep way after the rest of us do and is somehow always ready for the day before we even wake up. We found out that the reason for that is because he wakes up at 4 in the morning every single day! It's really strange. We asked him several times why he wakes up at 4 every morning and the only thing he would say is "porque muito bom" which means "because very good". I think the reason he is so hard to understand is that his portuguese is a little bit different from the portuguese that they've been teaching us and I think a lot of times he just says stuff that doesn't make any sense haha. He did that every night until two nights ago when he asked me for a coke (I receieved a 6 pack of coca cola from a white elephant gift exchange that my district did) and I told him I would give him a coke only if he agreed to start waking up at 6:30. He agreed and for the past two nights he has woken up at 6:30 haha. I don't know if the CTM has stuff to give Elders like him who don't come with very much but I think they do. I think there are probably a lot of Elders here at the CTM that are in the same situation as my roommate is but you would never know unless you lived with them or they told you. I don't really have much to report this week. There is only so much that can be said about a schedule that consists entirely of sleeping, eating, and studying portuguese. I was very happy to get the mission ties letter from Lauren and the pictures from the wedding. Ariel I'm glad everything went great and that you had a fun time on the cruize. Mom thanks so much for the pizza! I can't wait to get over there and pick it up. I'm really glad that you did that because every Wednesday here at the CTM is pizza night but the pizza is terrible haha. Its just wrong that they call that stuff pizza. Anyways I'm glad I'll finally have some real pizza to eat. I'm out of time and have to go. Thanks again for you emails and letters!
Elder Caleb Anderson

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Amazonian

Dear Family,
This past week has been a pretty long week. We got two more Brazilians as roommates and these guys are a lot different than the last ones. One of them is from a small town somewhere in the amazon (its really hard to communicate with him because his Portuguese is a little different). It has been interesting to room with him because I've started to realize a lot of the little things that we take for granted in the U.S.. When he first got here he didn't know how to use a clothes hanger to hang up his coat. From what I can see he wears the same clothes every day. His jacket is way to big for him and I suspect that one of the missionaries who baptized him gave it to him. For the first two nights he slept in the white shirt and slacks. Also him and the other Brazilian don't seem to sleep very much at all. They always go to sleep after the rest of us and are usually completely ready for the day before us Americans even wake up! It's been an interesting experience and I hope I can get to know him a little better. He's a really friendly guy and seems excited to be a missionary but as I said it's really hard to communicate with him. In other news, my companion accidently broke the TV in our classroom this week with a piece of candy. He had to interview with President Dane but once President Dane found out it was an accident he wasn't too mad at all. I had to speak in church this Sunday, the topic was "Laws and Ordinances" and I was actually really happy to be asked to speak because after out 5th week all of our talks are supposed to be in Portuguese. The talk went decently well. Last night for devotional we got to watch President Monson's birthday celebration on DVD. I was kind of dissapointed because they edited it. Aparently some of the songs that the Mormon Tabernacle choir sang for the celebration were from Phantom of the Opera and other broadway musicals and they didn't think it would be appropriate for missionaries to listen to haha. This morning we went to the Campinas Temple again so that was a good experience. So Lauren are you going to visit any other schools or do you think BYU is where you'll go? How about you Ben did you like BYU? Mom we accidently got mixed up with Jehovah's Witnesses because our investigator was talking really fast in Portuguese and we accidently said yes whenever he asked us if we were JW's haha. Yesterday Elder Jensen was trying to tell our investigator that if he would keep the Word of Wisdom he would be closer to God but he accidently mixed up the word "perto (close)" with "preto (black)" haha so he accidently told him that he would be more black with God haha. Luckily we caught that mistake. My weight is holding up fine. I lost a couple pounds when I first got here but I think I've gained them back plus a couple extra. I wasn't a big fan of beans when I got here but now after eating them every day for over a month they're pretty good. I like the black beans more than the brown ones but they usually serve us the brown ones here at the CTM.
I've got to go!
Elder Caleb Anderson

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Week 4

Hello All,
Tudo bem?
I hope everything is going well. It sounds like the wedding went smoothly! Also I'm glad the U.S. did well in the Olympics! This week has been a pretty normal week at the CTM! Another week of studying portuguese and eating beans and rice. This week we got two new elders in our district from the Provo MTC. They left the same day as us but they had to wait on their visas for a while in Provo. I expected their portuguese to be worse than ours but its actually better! From what they said classes are a lot more structered in Provo. Here everthing is mostly self-taught. The two guys from provo are named Elder Wade and Elder Chauncey, they also moved into the room that Elder Jensen and I are in. We also got a new afternoon instructor. This is our fourth afternoon instructor! The last one took a phone call in the middle of class, then he told us he had an emergency to take care of, he walked out and we never saw him again! Our new instructor is Irmao Ramos and I think we will learn a lot more from him anyway. We also had another TRC this Friday and Elder Jensen and I received very positive feedback again. On Monday I had to say goodbye to some of the Brazilians that I had become friends with because they were left for the field. They were all very excited. When they left they were given an english workbook so they can try and learn english during their missions. The CTM is made up of 1.Americans serving in Brazil learning Portuguese (9 weeks) 2. Brazilians serving in Brazil (3 weeks) 3. Brazilians serving in other South American countries learning spanish (6 weeks) 4. Other South Americans serving in Brazil learning portuguese (6 weeks). On Sunday we had an area 70 come and give us a devotional about the importance of our missions.
Here are some funny languages failures that I've experienced so far. When we were teaching our investigator about the restoration it was a very spiritual experience and we lead into the first vision. We said "when Joseph went and prayed to ask God which church he should join this is what God said" then we tried to get him to read Joseph Smith History 1:15-16 but Elder Jensen accidently gave him Joseph Smith Mathew instead and since the scriptures were in Portuguese we didn't notice until after. This is what he read " 15 Neither let him who is in the field return back to take his clothes;16 And wo unto them that are with child, and unto them that give suck in those days" hahahahahaha. He was extremely confused and we laughed so hard after the lesson. Another was when we were teaching our new investigator named Alfredo and we accidently told him that we were Jehovah's Witnesses hahahaha. We didn't get very good feedback on that lesson.
Once again thanks for the emails and I hope all is well!
Eu amo voces!
-Elder Caleb Anderson

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Week 3

Dear Family,
Thanks for the emails, I will read them later today. This week has been great, the time is starting to go by much faster. My portuguese is coming along well. Our classes are pretty much in 100 percent portuguese and when we teach investigators it is all portuguese. We study portuguese/ teach all day long. I feel like my companion and I are good teachers but sometimes it's hard to get our ideas across. Every night Elder Jensen and I read The Book of Mormon with our brazilain roommates. It's cool because we read in porguguese and they read in english. One of them lived in Utah for a year and a half so he speaks fluent english but the other two don't speak any english at all. Our portuguese is already much better than their english is so we try to teach them as much as we can. Also on Monday my whole district tried to speak portuguese from when we woke up in the morning until we ate dinner. It was really hard and I don't think it was too effective because instead of using more portuguese we just didn't speak at all haha. We had another TRC this week (where you get filmed teaching an investigator in portuguese) and this time we got very positive feedback. It was nice to finally get some encouragement. We are still working with our two progressing investigators. Last P-day our instructor Irmao Viana went with our district to the churrascaria. The food was awesome and it only cost 8 dollars. The rest of the week was pretty normal. Our district leader is Elder Coombs and he's a farm boy from Colorado. We've been keeping a quote book of the stuff he says because he says some hilarious stuff. He thinks he's a really tough guy, one of my favorite Coomb's quotes is "All you people grew up watching baby while I grew up watching John Wayne kill people!!". also this past week we got to take a trip to the federal police station so they could check out our visas and take our fingerprints. It was a lot like the DPS except I couldn't understand a word anyone was saying to me.
Ben- I hope lifeguarding is going well and that you don't get audited. But you should make sure and study up on your skills just in case. Playing basketball up here is actually getting kind of boring because there aren't very many good players so its not very competitive. Not to mention if the brazilians play all they do is foul haha.
Lauren- I hope everything is well and that you get plenty of work babysitting.
Ariel- Good luck this weekend and I hope going through the temple was a good experience. Also congratulations on graduating!
Mom and Dad- Thanks for the letters and the olympics update during the week.
I hope that you guys aren't too stressed out by the wedding and that you travel safely. I hope everything goes smoothly this weekend! Make sure and send pictures!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

MTC Life

Hello Family and Friends,
Once again I haven't had time to read any of the emails from the past week but I took pictures of them and will read them later today. Thanks so much for sending me emails, it is great to hear from home. I hope everything is going well for all of you. This past week went A LOT faster than the first week. We are starting to get into a more normal routine. Last Wednesday was P-day and it was awesome. After emailing Elder Jensen and I went outside and walked around the neighborhood exploring. It was really fun to be outside the MTC and get to practice some of the portuguese we had learned (although most people still stare at us like we're idiots whenever we try to talk haha). There is a tie shop across the street that sells ties ranging from $2.50 to $7.50 so I purchased an orange tie with blue stripes for 4 dollars. I think we'll go there again today. I am gave one of my ties away this week so I think I'll replace it. There was a kid who arrived at the MTC this past week from Mozambique who didn't have anything except the clothes he was wearing so me and a lot of other elders donated some stuff to him. Also last P-day we found a churrascaria place (like fogo de chao or estancia) except its only 8 dollars! Needless to say we're going there right after we finish emailing. The rest of the week was spent studying portuguese and teaching fake investigators. We study the scriptures some but mostly we just study portuguese. On Friday we had a thing called TRC where we teach a fake investigator in portuguese and it is filmed and then we get feedback on our teaching and get to watch the film. Elder Jensen and I though we did pretty well but the instructor who gave us very negative feedback, in fact he didn't say one thing positive about our teaching. It was a little frustrating but I don't care too much. We did the best we could with the 50 words we know. Also Elder Jensen and I got switched rooms, so now instead of being with 3 other Americans who are going to Sao Paulo East we are with 3 Brazilians who are serving across the country. I think rooming with them is going to help my portuguese a lot. Last night was another highlight of the week. We got to watch a video given by Elder Holland to the Provo MTC. It was a great talk. My favorite quote from the talk was "in order for your mission to be a success you need to convert at least 1 person, and that person had better be you".
Now to address some questions. I didn't recognize the MTC president as the pickleville piano player but it definitely makes since. He's a great guy and last week we had a devotional about pioneers and at the end he played a piano medlee of all the different Joseph Smith songs. It was really good and I think he improvised it on the spot because he didn't have any music. Every Tuesday and Sunday all the Elders have to sing in the choir. Elder Jensen is doing well, he's from Colorado and enjoys snowboarding and hiking mountains. The food here is nothing like the cannon center food. It's all authentic brazilian food (which means beans and rice at every meal). I get to play basketball about 4 times a week when we have gym. The weather right now is perfect. My normal day schedule is wake up at 6:30 and study until 9:30 with breaks for gym and 3 meals. I am almost out of time. Ariel you're welcome for the tent and good luck with wedding planning. Have a great temple experience. Lauren I'm glad that girls camp went well, Ben thanks for the email. Mom- enjoy getting your letters during the week through Cheney's. Dad- good luck with the Daddy Daughter dance!
I've got to go. Thanks again for the emails and keep them coming!
-Elder Caleb Anderson

Thursday, July 26, 2012

First Week at the MTC!

Hello all,
Thank you so much for the emails. Unfortunately we don't have very much time for emails so I haven't been able to read them yet, but I did take a picture of them with my camera so I'll read them later tonight. I hope all is well and that wedding planning isn't keeping you too busy. I have been very, very busy since I got here to the MTC and so much has happened that it's hard to decide what to write. Here is a quick summary of each day since I left. Also, it appears that the question mark key on this computer doesn't work so you'll will just have to guess whether I'm asking a question or not.
Tuesday July 17th- After passing through the security line at the airport I went to the departure gate and saw that my flight was delayed by 2 hours! Luckily they put me on a different flight to Dallas that was leaving in 5 minutes. Once I got to Dallas I took the train to Terminal D and was walking towards the gate whenever a random guy stopped me and introduced himself as a bishop of a nearby Dallas ward. I talked to him for a few minutes and he gave me 20 bucks to go buy food! Looks like the blessings of missionary work are already coming through! At the gate I met 8 other missionaries that were headed to the MTC in Sao Paulo. We all got to know each other a little better and then got on the plane.
Wednesday- The flight to Sao Paulo was very long and very boring. After clearing customs and immigration I exchanged all my American money into Brazilian money. We also met up with about 10 other American missionaries who had taken a different flight to Sao Paulo. The MTC people arrived and we took 2 vans to the MTC (or CTM as they call it here). After arriving at the CTM we were immediately given companions. My companion is Elder Jensen. In the picture I sent home he is the one standing on my right. He's from Denver and is a really great guy, we've become pretty good friends. We were given a room on the 6th floor with another companionship (a trio) who are also going to the Sao Paulo East mission.We are on the top floor and the view from our room is awesome. We are on the top floor and the view from our room is awesome. We spent the rest of the day on a regular MTC schedule and even taught our first fake investigator.
Thursday- Went to classes all day long with my district. The district consists of the 5 Sao Paulo East guys and 4 other guys going to Porto Allegre South. We spent all day learning portuguese and studying the scriptures. We also had our first gym time (we get 4 a week) so when we played basketball I took the opportunity to humble the rest of my district.
It looks like I'm not going to have time to summarize the rest of the week but here's the important stuff. Other than 4 meals a day and an hour for gym time, we work all day long learning portuguese and studying the gospel. Elder Jensen and I are teaching a fake investigator named Jose almost every day of the week. Today is P-day and this morning we went to the temple. The Sao Paulo temple is very nice (a lot bigger than SA though). After we finish email we're allowed to go wander around the city (we have about a 2 mile radius). I heard there was a shooting in colorado during the Batman movie. The food is pretty good so far. I drink Guarana at every meal and eat beans and rice and just about every meal. My time is up.
I love you all and hope everything is going well!
-Elder Caleb Anderson
Also I will be signing up for a service today that all the missionaries here at the MTC sign up for. It costs 5 dollars and every email that you send me gets printed out and sent to me. That way you don't have to send letters you can just email and it gets to me much faster.