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.