Monday, December 7, 2015

*THE END* // *FIM*

Close your eyes for a sec. Think back to what you were doing two years ago. Where were you? Who were you with? I've been reflecting A LOT this past week. It's incredible how fast two years passed by. Two years ago I was packing a suitcase for an adventure to Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil where I would make friendships and memories that will last forever.

I'm down to the last TEN DAYS of my mission. I'll have one more Monday after this but I'm not sure how much time I'll have to email next week because of interviews, temple, etc. so I've decided to send out my last words today and to let you all know how much I've loved this mission and how much I've learned.

I remember as a kid we would have the missionaries over to eat dinner at our house and I always admired them and thought it was awesome because the best dinner of the month was when the missionaries were over. My parents hooked them up! I also remember putting on a tie and a backpack and riding around the neighborhood on my bike with my friend Scot pretending to be missionaries and it was like the coolest thing we did as kids. Eventually my rebel days came and the things of the world started to appear more attractive than the things of the Lord and my desire to serve a mission was lost. I remember fighting with my parents about serving a mission because it was going to be a "waste of time".

Fortunately my parents sent me off to BYU-Idaho for a year and a half where I learned that in order to marry an attractive girl from the church I would want to serve a mission. To be honest, the reason I came out on a mission was just to get that "RM" title to be able to date whoever I wanted at BYU. HOWEVER, having that as my base for coming out on a mission was not strong enough to keep me on a mission. I quickly learned that a mission is SUPER hard and that in order to make it through two years I would have to make up my mind and figure out what would be able to keep me on a mission.

In my first area, Águas Claras, I witnessed the true power that prayer has and was able to gain a strong relationship with my Heavenly Father. In Montanha I learned how to work hard and set high goals. When I went to São Tomé I was taught that many times God's plan for us is not the same as our plan for us and we need to accept the will of the Lord. When I went to Fátima I started to realize that it's the little things in life that bring us happiness and we need to give value to those things. In Fernando Osório I learned how to smile during hard moments (like getting robbed). Here in my last area, Lomba do Pinheiro, I've been learning how important the family really is. All these important lessons that I've learned in each of my area, along with many more, were key factors in the building up of the testimony that I have now. The testimony that I gained during these two years in Brasil was what kept me out here.

I have never seen God or Jesus Christ but I now know that they live because I feel them. I know that they have a really awesome plan for us and want us to be able to come back to their presence, better than when we were with them before this life. God calls prophets so that we don't have to wander through this life completely lost. The scriptures contain the words of the Lord and will tell us ALL things that we should do. Families are forever. There is no end to glory, there is no end to love. There is no end to being, there is no death above.

I love you all! Thank you for all your support, prayers, and whatever else you did for me!

Peace!

Elder Sanok



Monday, November 30, 2015

What Once Was Two Years is Now TWO WEEKS

WHOA. Two weeks. WHAT?! Has it hit y'all that it's all coming to an end? For me I have random moments that I realize that I'm coming home soon but for the most part it hasn't hit me yet. I'm still going strong! This morning we had to miss choir practice because we had a wedding for a young couple that we've been teaching! They're relatives of a member family that has been helping us a lot and we're excited to see them taking big steps such as marriage and baptism this week! After the wedding at the courthouse we headed to a park and took pictures.

It's really been heating up here and I can't wait to head back to winter! How is it at home? Everyone thinks that because I'm from the US it snows where I live and I have to explain that it gets really cold but fortunately doesn't snow! The hills here have also been killing me. I'm so ready to not have to walk like the pioneers all day every day but roll around in a car instead when I wanna go somewhere. Kinda scared to drive again though to be honest. 

Today we had lunch at Subway and I scored a sweet Star Wars poster for buying a combo meal. I stoked to see that movie! Actually I'm really anxious to go to the cinema again. It's the little things that I miss like cinema popcorn or going to the grocery store in flip flops or having a phone to entertain me.

We had Zone Conference this week which was kinda boring for me because all we really talked about was plans and goals for 2016 so I was kinda zoned out. I thought I was gonna give my going-away-testimony but apparently we're going to have a Christmas Conference on the DAY that I'm peacing out of here so I'll be giving a sweet going-away-testimony like 2 hours before getting on my plane. 

Hope all is well back home! 
Love you guys! 

Elder Sanok

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The One Month Range

We are officially in the ONE MONTH RANGE! 30 days... can't believe it! This past week flew by like lightning! I'm getting along great with my new comp and everyone in the district is really good friends so you can say that I'm dying happily. I don't feel any stress (except for when I think about what I wanna do with my future) and overall my health is pretty well. My comp has been helping me train so that I can come home in good shape. It's getting pretty warm but the thought of heading back to winter in four weeks helps me push through the hot and sunny days. I spent the whole week showing my comp around the area and introducing him to the members, recent converts, and investigators. I wasn't suuuuuper thrilled when I found out I'd be finishing my mission in Porto Alegre but I can honestly say that I'm dying in an awesome area! To sum everything up in a few words, I'm feelin' good!
Love you guys!
Elder Sanok

ps - sorry for not taking any pics this week. Next week y'all will see some cool pics as we already have our P-Day planned out ;)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Last Transfer!!!

Once again, a week flown by! I am happy and a bit freaked out to say that this is OFFICIALLY my LAST TRANSFER! FIVE WEEKS BABY!!! Bah, it's kinda crazy to think that in a little over a month I'll be home. But I can assure all of you that I'm happy being here and I'm givin it my all! My new (and last) companion is from Rio and is already a friend of mine so I'll be dying happily. This week was insanely busy as we were running around trying to marry a couple, bring a family to the see the temple, take care of the 12 families we have in our teaching pool, and prepare for transfers! You'll have to forgive me for the short update this week but know that I love you all and I'm doing great!

Elder Sanok
 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Right Around the Corner!!

Helloooooooo! So yesterday was some random holiday here meaning that yesterday was a work day and today is my Pday! The keyboard that I'm using is having problems so my email today is gonna be super short...

This week was INTENSE! So we've been working hard with this couple that we met at the beginning of the transfer and this week was their baptism. We worked HARD with them because they were pretty hesitant at first but it all worked out in the end! On Tuesday we practiced the baptismal interview with them and suggested that President Cruz would come to do their interview. Their best friend who has been helping us a lot is from Rio and has been inactive for many years but has been returning as they have been starting this journey. When he heard the name "Cruz" from Rio his jaw dropped and he started asking a bunch of questions about pres like his name, wife's name, etc. Once he got all that info he got very emotional and told us that he was his bishop in Rio many years ago and that they were great friends! We called pres right away to let him know and he couldn't believe it! When he came to do the interviews they had an awesome reunion. It was so cool to see how Heavenly Father looks out for all his children, even those lost sheep, and provides a way for them to come back. They had their interviews and the baptism was a success. President LOVES this family and grabbed their number and started planning family nights with them and everything. He then suggested an awesome idea that we take them to the temple this week to give a tour of the gardens and teach about the temple! So that's what we're gonna do today...take our recent convert family to the temple for the first time!! :D

Just wanna let y'all know that even though I'm only 43 days away, I'm working like I've never worked before!
Love you guys!

p.s. I'll be coming home NEXT MONTH!!!
Elder Sanok




Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Keep Calm and Start the Countdown!

Keep calm and start the countdown -- 51 days!!
Ok so it's starting to get scary how close to the end I am. I'm stoked to be coming home and getting back to real life but I'm also trying to really enjoy these last days. Sometimes we get so focused on counting the days that we forget to make the days count. This week I had a great experience that proved to me how great the mission really is. We had stake conference this weekend in Viamão and I had a pretty awesome and emotional experience. Not only was I able to see literally just about everyone I had come to know and work with the first year of my mission but I was also able to see the progress. Recent converts and investigators I had were being sustained in their ordination of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Some families I had worked with have already gone through the temple this past year. A couple youth converts and less-actives are now getting ready for missions. There wasn't a moment that somebody wasn't coming up to give me a hug or tell me how much I've been missed. I honestly thought that like 98% of the people had forgotten me but I was soooo wrong. I LOVE THESE GAUCHOS!!!
This week was intense as we've been getting everything set up for some end-of-the-transfer baptisms! We have some awesome families and individuals that we're working with. The work in this area is unreal it's so good! Of course we have our road bumps but we're having some great experiences and progress here in Lomba do Pinheiro!

I'm physically destroyed but somehow I'm pushing through to the end. Keep up your prayers because I honestly think that your prayers are what's getting me through each day! I've been having some challenges these past two weeks with my usual migraines but it's been a little out of the ordinary as it's been almost every day with vomiting too. Sister Cruz is currently marking some exams for me and I'll be getting checked out most likely this week in one of the nicest hospitals in Porto Alegre. Time to figure out what this is once and for all!
My comp got invited to do a solo in the Christmas choir performances that we'll be doing starting next month so while he stayed after for special practice I hit up Burger King with Chapple and his comp! Whopper, Halloween edition! 
  

We were walking down the road the other day and one of the biggest soccer teams in Brasil (from here in Porto Alegre), Internacional, was at a churrascaria in our area so I ran up and snapped a pic in front of the bus since it's the team I like here.
  

That's it for this week!
Love you guys!
Elder Sanok

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

From Two Years to Two Months

!BUENOS DIAS!
Nossa, the weeks are just going by faster and faster, huh?! What once was two years is just 2 months now! I can't wait to kick it with y'all in 8 weeks! But for now, I've still got a lot to do...
This week was INSANELY busy as we fought through the rain each day trying to get our baptisms organized. Everything went nice and smooth and I'm happy to report that two more people followed the example of Christ this week by being baptized by the priesthood power of God.
So I don't know if it's gotten to the US yet but Rio Grande do Sul is all over the news here in Brasil because of the crazy rain storms we've been having; looks like some cities are completely under water. I actually prefer the rain because it's refreshing in comparison to the scorching sun! I remember that this time last year was unbearably hot but right now it's nice and cool. We actually had a few days this week in which I rocked a sweater.
This week we'll have stake conference which I'm stoked for because I'll be able to see everyone from my first three areas in Viamão! Speaking of the stake, I've been participating in some leadership meetings with the stake and the mission about the progress of the stake and it looks like we're getting really close to dividing the stake! A lot of sweat has gone into this division so I really hope I'm here to see it. 

Random story: So this morning we had Christmas choir practice at the mission office and our ZL's forgot to tell us that we needed to wear a red tie for a picture so I come walking in with a yellow Hawaiian print tie completely standing out so I grab Elder Chapple and we hop in a taxi and fly down to the center to buy a red tie but we end up staying for almost an hour doing tie shopping. Total American move right there.
That's about all I can remember from this week..
Hope y'all had a great one!
Love you guys!
Elder Sanok

p.s. like my ride?


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Attitude Determines Aptitude

Another week down! Bah, it's really rather mind-blowing how fast the end is coming.. Pinheiro is treating me well in terms of teaching but physically I'm dying (hills all day, every day). We have a great group of people that we're working with and we're seeing a lot of progress with these people. I'm working as hard as I possibly can and it really is rewarding! I know that there are people in this area waiting for me and needing something that I have so I can't give up quite yet. 

I read a great talk this week by President Uchtdorf about the marathons in our life and I can really relate it to the stage I'm at in my mission. In any type of race, we always start out super strong with our torch blazing bright but it's not always about how fast you finish the race but about coming across the line strong with that torch still lit. I started out my mission really strong and worked my butt off but then I got to that point where I was exhausted and thought that because I was getting close to the end I could take it a little easy here and there. Fortunately I've been able to have a change in mindset these past few weeks and I've got my torch lit bright - now it's all about bringing all I've got across that finish line!

Although it rained literally every single day this week without stopping, we threw on our rain coats, grabbed our umbrellas, and charged the streets! Like I said, we have a lot of people that are progressing and making big changes in their lives. Unfortunately, due to a lack of gas in the chapel this weekend, we weren't able to heat the baptismal font up for a baptism and the family decided it would be better to postpone for this coming week. Unfortunately, we often get these little hurdles thrown in our way but it's up to us if we're gonna overcome them with a good attitude or not. Whether I liked it or not, it rained this week and there was nothing I could do about it. Instead of moping around in the house all week, we joked about how we would be getting wife points for working in the rain and went out anyways. We could have beat our heads into the wall for having a failed baptism on Saturday but instead we realized it would give us more time to prepare the family and get a good baptismal meeting planned. Attitude determines aptitude. My middle school principal always said, "make it a great day or not, the choice is yours."

Sorry for not taking any pictures this week.. I didn't wanna risk my camera getting destroyed by the rain.

Love you guys!
Just a little more!
Elder Sanok

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Back In Viamão.....

Well, I lied to yall. I thought I was headed to POA but I was wrong.. I'm back in Viamão! My area is like right in between Porto Alegre and Viamão but to me it's more Viamão hahaha. I'm really enjoying the new area though, we have a lot of great people to teach and I've got some energy inside of me that I haven't felt since the beginning of my mission so I have a feeling that I'll be dying working hard!

The area lives up to it's name, "Lomba do Pinheiro", which means "Pinetree Hill" but it should be "Pinetree MOUNTAIN" because it's full of mountainous hills! I'll be coming home with legs of steel.
Like I said, we have tons of people to be teaching, the majority being families! Nothing is better to a missionary than a great family to be teaching and we've got quite a few! Almost every one that we have with baptismal dates made it to one of the sessions of conference this weekend which was awesome! I'm feeling really good about this area and I know we're going to be having tons of success! 

Conference this weekend was AWESOME!!! Can't believe it was my last one.. I was thinking yesterday about my first conference in the mission when I didn't understand a thing - I've come a long way... I don't have much to say because I was overwhelmed by it's awesomeness but here are some of the things I most liked:
(sorry if it's not the same thing y'all picked out because the translation can be a little different sometimes)
"With the fruits of the gospel, we can turn our dreams into reality." -Uchtdorf
"Christ uses our weaknesses to help us learn and become stronger while Satan uses them to make us feel useless and hopeless." -Uchtdorf
"Exaltation is the objective; discipleship is the way." -Uchtdorf
"We can't get to Zion by jumping out of the boat and trying to swim ahead." -Ballard
"Our heart begins to cure when we accept the will of the Lord." -Neill F. Marriot
"The choices we make right now mold our eternal destiny." -Hales
I LOVE MY MOMMA!!! -what I got out of Holland's talk
"The small gesture of a smile has great power." -Hugo Montoya
"There is no darkness so dense or strong that cannot be illuminated by the light." -Vern P. Stanfill
"PONDERIZE!" -Devin G. Durrant
"Don't be so critical of the barriers." -Von G. Keetch
"Qualifications to be a light of the world: Be an example in word and conversation. Demonstrate charity, the pure love of Christ. Be an example in spirit and faith. Be pure." -President Monson

Love you all! Have a great week!







Monday, September 28, 2015

Olá! For the Last Time from Pelotas..

HELLO HELLO, this is the last email y'all will be getting from Pelotas as it seems that I'm headed off to Porto Alegre to finish my mission! We got the call last night that Elder Chapple and I will be getting transferred to Porto Alegre. I really loved my time in Pelotas. I spent the last 9 months here and grew to love this city but now it looks like Dan is headed off to the big city! My new area is Lomba do Pinheiro and I'll be with an elder from São Paulo and two elders from Chile and Peru - should be fun! I'm pretty excited as I will be returning to the same stake that I was in for the first year of my mission, Estaca Partenon, just in time for the division! It'll be cool seeing some of the fruits of my labor in Viamão as well as seeing so many people that I got to know while I was there as my new area borders with Viamão.

This week flew by! I kinda had a feeling that I was gonna get transferred so spent the whole week saying tchau to the people here. We had some good experiences throughout the week with the work and I was able to learn the importance of pushing through. Being the last week and having a feeling you're gonna get transferred usually doesn't push you that much and on top of that, it was pouring rain all week but we sucked it up and went out anyways. We had some awesome experiences including finding a family of 9 really receptive people who will be great for the elders that will stay here.

The mission is flying by! I can't believe I'm headed off to what will most likely be my last area. Can't wait to see you all in 2 and a half months! Make sure to check out general conference this week! We're immensely blessed to have a living prophet and apostles that will deliver us direct revelation from God!

Peace and love,
Elder Sanok

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

O Fim Se-Aproxima...

*the cell phone rings*
Me: "Alôooooooooooo!!
Executive Secretary: "Elder Sanok, we have a question for you that may be pretty trunky for you to respond."
Me: "Hit me!"
Exec. Sec.: "Elder Sanok, we're currently purchasing flight tickets for your group, which airport is the closest to your house?"
Me: "WHAAAAAAAT?!"

Ladies and Gentlemen, the end is near. My plane ticket has officially been purchased. This week I enter into my last 12-week stretch!
First of all let me explain why I wasn't able to get on yesterday. So the sisters in our district had a little problem with their house and it may or may not have almost caught fire a few weeks ago because of poor electric wiring and construction so the mission bought them a new apartment but forgot to send people to help them move soooooo it was up to me and my companion to wake up early Monday morning to make the hour and a half long bus ride to the small mountain village to spend the whole day helping out with a move in the rain.  But the work was worth it because afterwards we hiked a mountain to visit a giant statue that is a pretty touristy spot here in Rio Grande do Sul. That was quite the adventure.  
  





So this week was pretty eventful. On Monday we made buffalo-style wings which were so good that we ended up making them just about every night. They went along great with the Dr Peppers that Elder Chapple's mom sent. 
  


Tuesday-Friday we had training with President and the AP's on how we can better teach the message of the Restoration which was applied well in our area and we have been seeing some great fruits because of it.
On Saturday we had an awesome experience with Mormon Helping Hands where we were able to go to Canguçu with the entire stake to do a food drive. It was fun because each missionary was assigned to a group and we taught the members how to knock on doors so they were finally able to feel how we feel. We had some great experiences in helping out a hospital in gathering non-perishable foods. Service projects are one of my favorite things about being a missionary and I for sure won't stop when I'm back! 
  
  










  
Saturday night was awesome because we got back to the area starving but Silvio and Vanessa called us over for a churrasco which filled me up for the whole week!

  
That's about all I can think of for this week. Hope y'all are great! One more week in the transfer.
Lots of love,
Elder Sanok

Monday, September 14, 2015

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD!!!

Kind of running out of clever intros for my emails. I guess I'll just stick to the classic HELLOOOOOOOOOO!

Well my week was pretty quick, like usual. I got an email from Jason and he said that the mission is like the most you'll ever work in your life and that afterwards, working two full-time jobs is nothing. He told me that he doesn't even bother taking breaks because those are for the weak. Dang I totally agree...I've never worked so hard in my life like the mission. I was thinking about it this week, any type of work I could get right off my mission is going to be like a breeze. But I guess the mission is supposed to be like that, right? Christ's work here on the Earth wasn't easy at all so why should me doing the same type of ministry He did be any easier? Yeah, I guess I get access to internet once a week, really good lunches from the Irmãs, and it's a quick two years among many things so in a sense it is way easier than what the Savior passed through but the work of Salvation is no walk in the park, however, with many trials and hardships, it is the sweetest and most satisfying work in the Universe and I wish everyone could experience it. Spread the gospel with everyone you know and I promise that you won't regret it!
Work hard, play hard, right? This week we went to town on finding new investigators. Our zone leaders are in a trio so one of them came and stayed the week with us and was able to help us out and we went crazy on door knocking, street contacts, and hitting up referals. I know for sure that we'll be seeing some good fruits here in a little. My goal is just to leave this area better than when I came in. If I'm gonna do any type of work, I'm gonna give it my best so that's what I'm striving to do.
We had a fun road trip this week to Canguçu again to participate in a baptism. The sisters in our district are working really hard and are helping out their small branch. We got up way early Saturday to make the hour and a half bus ride down and spent the whole day preparing for a special baptism of a recent convert's niece.
Fernando Osório is on fire, literally. We were burning some old books the other day for fun and ended up with a pretty good fire out back so we decided to turn it into a churrasco since we didn't have lunch that day.
I can't really think of any other crazy thing that went down this week. Just know that I'm doing alright and that I love you all a ton!
Elder Sanok
  



Monday, September 7, 2015

Cheerin' For Jesus!

Hellooooooooo.
A big hug comin at everyone from Brasil!
So I had a crazy realization this past week when I went to shave. Either my math was bad or my hormones are kicking in hard because I totally ran out of the calculated number of razors that I had packed. I had everything perfectly planned out to last me two years and it's all running out! It's finally hitting me; I can't believe how close to the end I am! It's going by so fast. These last few months have been flying past in the blink of an eye and I'm down to my last 99 DAYS! But y'all don't have to worry because I'm giving it my all and will sweat out every last bit of opportunity that I can until the end.
This week was filled with door knocking, bible-bashing (because I like to do a little every once in a while), killing our lunch, missionary-pyramids, and a miracle at church.
So like I've said in my past e-mails, we've been working in other parts of our area because we a'int trynna get robbed again. It's been a pretty big challenge for us as we have been working from scratch and have to knock doors for days but we've been able to get some new investigators and start a pretty firm teaching group. While knocking doors we come across all types of people and there are always those hardcore know-it-alls that won't let you leave their porch without a fight so I've been able to freshen up on my bible-bashing skills these weeks. I can't say I'm a real fan of arguing ecclesiology but I have always liked proving a point so it's kinda fun.
We've been struggling lately getting people to go to church and have had little success these past weeks but this week we were blessed because of a (few) strong prayers and a lot of faith. Usually we miss a good hour or so of church because we're out trying to drag our investigators to church but this Sunday we took a different approach and decided to leave it in God's hands. Things always turn out alright when you put them in God's hands. Instead of bugging all our investigators Sunday morning and missing church, we went straight to the chapel and just trusted that we would have people there. Would y'all believe that for the first time in a long time, Fernando Osório had 8 visitors at church and a few recent-convert and less-active families that haven't been in a while seated just in time for sacrament meeting?! I was up at the piano playing prelude music when one of the bishop's counselors came over telling me that they needed help welcoming in the large group of people that was coming into the chapel! *This is the part where the song from "The Prince of Egypt" starts playing... "THERE CAN BE MIIIIIIIRACLES WHEN YOOOUU BELIIIIIIIIEVE!"
We had a fun experience the other day at lunch when the Irmão asked if we wanted duck for lunch. We responded yes and he took us out back and let us pick one of his live geese out and then he tied it upside down on a rope and let us slit it's throat and chop the head off and help the Irmã prepare it for lunch. Don't worry, we totally took a video. (coming to you soon)
We had a zone training this week with some of our stake leaders and during some free time we randomly started taking crazy pictures and somehow we ended up forming a cheerleader-style pyramid. "GO JESUS, GO!!!"
Well that's all I've got for you guys this week. Hope everyone's doing great! LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN! 99 DAYS!!!





Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Passing by in a FLASH

Another week come and gone, IN A FLASH!
This week was my birthday week and I definitely lived it up (as much as a missionary really can).
On Monday we went to Lobão, the best steakhouse in all of Rio Grande do Sul and then after I went out and bought some cool souveniers for myself.
Wednesday was the big day but it rained all day so not much went down. We went out for pizza at a super fancy pizza place on my birthday night and everyone gave me a sweet new tie.
On Friday we had to get up at 5:00 in the morning to take a bus with everyone from Pelotas and Rio Grande up to Porto Alegre for a special zone conference with president and a member of the seventy. We got in to POA around lunchtime and hit up a cool restaurant. It was way cool seeing a bunch of missionaries and also hearing some cool messages. We finished around 6:00 and had to wait till 7:00 to take our bus back so we wound up at Burger King and filled up on Whoppers (first time in 20 months). The bus ride back was way fun but we got in around 12:30... talk about being tired. 

On Saturday we had a normal day and at night we went to what I thought was gonna be a family night but turned into a surprise party for me. Here in Brazil they have a tradition to throw eggs and flour on the birthday person but I didn't think it was that cool being the only one getting egged so I grabbed some out of someone's hands and egged one of the other elders. We ended up having an insane egg and flour war. The taxi driver sure loved taking us back. 

Today we got up early to go workout with a member and the park that we went to to run at had a basketball court so we found ourselves shooting around for a little which was fun. (remember that it's not normal to see people playing basketball in Brazil so we were quite the site to see lol). We went back to his house afterwards and filled up on a huge churrasco! For some reason today was insanely hot (in the 90s) but it should be back down to the 60s tomorrow.
Love you all!
PS - I found out this week in the mission office that my last transfer is only going to be 5 weeks long. My time just got one week shorter! I come home December 15th; 15 weeks = 106 days to go!

Elder Sanok

(Camera is broken so no pictures)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I Don't Know About You, but I'm Feelin' 21!!!

Helloooooooooo family and friends!

This is the last time you'll be hearing from the 20-year-old version of Elder Sanok because on Wednesday I'm hittin the big 2-1!! WOO! Kinda crazy how fast this whole year passed, one birthday to another. I remember last year when I had like 8 months in and thinking, "dang, next year when it's my birthday I'll only have 4 months to go. That'll NEVER come." Well, it came! Thank you all for your thoughts and wishes. Means a lot!

Well this week kinda flew. I think this last little slice of my mission is gonna pass right by in a blink of an eye. We were able to meet everyone in our new district and set some great goals.  The work is going good. We are finding lots of new people to teach since we're avoiding the area that we got robbed in. Our biggest difficulty right now is getting people to church. But don't worry, we'll get around it and we'll fill all them benches on Sunday!

So this past week we discovered a LEGIT pizza place in the area and it's kind of become our new obsession. My favorite dish is the mountain of french fries covered in cheddar cheese and bacon #Merica. They also have homemade ice cream and it sure is an addiction. But don't worry, I'm not getting fat. I have it nailed into my head that I can't come home fat so I'm working out every day now and really pushing myself so that I can come home lookin' all Abercrombie model status. 

Speaking of food... Mom and Dad hooked me up today on an INCREDIBLE lunch at Lobão, the famous churrascaria here in Brazil! Holy cowz, I ate like it was my last meal on Earth. It was my second time going and my favorite plate there is still the "Strawberry" which is a filet mignon with yogurt, strawberry steak sauce, and strawberries on top!

Popped some tags today in the center and got some sweet stuff to bring back home! I can't believe how fast the time is going. I can't believe it's already almost September... Just a little big longer of pushing myself and I'll be back poolside in no time....

Until next time,
Elder Sanok

  

Monday, August 17, 2015

ONE IN A MINION

Hellooooooooooooo!
Not much new with me.
Finished another transfer this week!
THREE TO GO!!! (18 WEEKS).
Yeah I'm feeling pretty good now. I'm one of the old guys in the mission. I'll be workin this transfer in my area, Fernando Osório, with Elder Miranda from São Paulo.
My district got moved around a bit but I'm excited to work with some of these new missionaries and continue with the ones I already know. 

A lot is changing with our new mission president. A lot of people are getting moved around and getting new callings but I guess the Lord has a purpose for me and wants me here in Pelotas just a little bit longer! :)

I don't really have any crazy stories like I did last week. I guess that's a good thing? haha.  We're seeing some progress in our area. We started working in a newer part so that we could avoid where we were robbed last week.

I got my birthday package but I had to open it early because I was in desperate need of the deodorant... THANKS A TON!! That was definitely the coolest and most creative box I've ever seen. 


ONE IN A MINION!
Elder Sanok

p.s. You can see my new nametag in the pic with the minions, Elder Sanok III ;)




Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Life's A Beach

Olá! How's Dan's group of fans back home doin?!

Well I know I said I wouldn't tell y'all about experiences like this until after my mission and I've done a pretty good job about keeping them on the down-low up until now but what went down this week was actually kind of funny and I learned an important lesson. With that being said, Mom, just know that I'm completely fine and I didn't even lose anything of real value.

SO. I'm getting ready for church in the morning. I begin to look for my watch (my G-Shock that Dad gave me - a nice one) and I can't find it anywhere. Time is short. I bust open my suitcase and grab one of my $15 Target watches. As I'm putting my bag on, the strap snaps so I throw it aside and just grab my Bible and a Book of Mormon and head out the door.
*skip to lunch*
We eat lunch. We start walking with the other elders until we get to a division in the road. A random thought comes through my head, "walk with the other elders until their area and then you'll get to the main road which will lead you to your area OR take the shortcut through this sketchy part of the area that'll get you where you wanna be 15 minutes faster." My mind was rooting more for the long route but because it was a hot day, the natural man got the best of me and we split up with the other elders and headed for the shortcut. As we were getting close to the entrance of the shortcut, the thought came back and I even stopped to think about turning back. I called the other elders to see where they were at but the phone was having problems as usual and wouldn't let me call. We started complaining about our phone and joking, "dang, if we were to get robbed I would actually laugh while handing over the phone because it sucks and the dude would be doing us a favor." We continued on. As we're walking down a sketchy road, a dude appears out of nowhere from behind us and I think, "ah, crap." I tell my companion to start walking faster and that's when he calls out to us...
Dude: Hey brothers! Hey, hold up!
Me: Yo.
Dude: Y'all got one of those little books about your church or somethin?
Me: I got this... *hands over a pass-along-card
Dude: Thanks man, I've really been needing this. Ya see my life is kind of messed up right now.
Comp: How so?
Dude: I'm in deep with the wrong kinds of people and the wrong kinds of things. I can't even leave my house without being armed. *lifts up shirt and shows gun tucked into shorts* A couple of months ago I talked to y'all on the street and y'all wrote down my address but never showed up. Y'all think y'all could come over some day and teach me about God?
Comp: Of course. What's your address? *writes down fake address that the dude gave.
Dude: Thanks man. Like I said, I'm really needing it. My life is messed up. I feel like my only choice in life is either prison or a body bag.
Me: *thinking to myself - sweet, let's teach this guy the Plan of Salvation!
Comp: Don't you think that God has a better plan for your life?
Dude: I don't think God cares about people like me.
Me: God loves ALL his children, no matter what.
Dude: You think so? Even if I do this?... *places hand where gun is* I want y'all to take your watches off and put them on the ground along with your cell phones and anything else in your pockets.
Us: What?
Dude: Yeah I'm robbing you guys.
Me: Dude, you were just saying that you want out of this life and you come up here robbing two church dudes for their watches?
Dude: Yeah. Do it fast!
Comp: Dude, you're freaking retarded. We don't have anything. This is actually kind of embarrassing for you.
Dude: I a'int playin around! Put what I asked for on the ground!
Me: Whatever bro. Have fun with our piece of crap watches and cell phone, hahaha.
Dude: *grabs stuff off the ground* now imma ask y'all to turn around and walk away.
Comp: Ha. Whatever bro.
*5 seconds pass. We look back and homeboy is sprinting into the woods with his pants practically falling off and we just start cracking up laughing.*
We decided to head to a member's house that was close so that we could call the other elders when it hit us, "YO! We just got robbed during the middle of the Plan of Salvation and our junk phone got jacked?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!"

Long story short, life is a beach. Sometimes things hit ya when ya least expect it. While I was laying down last night I started thinking, "dang. I guess that could have ended up a lot worse." It's awesome how the Lord watches over and protects. I stayed completely calm the entire time. All I lost was a cheap watch and a junky phone that was having problems anyways. I learned to follow those promptings that come even when they don't make sense at times. Sometimes the Lord has to put us in hands-on learning situations so that we get the picture faster.

Overall, it was a good week. Our new mission president is doing a lot of changes in the mission and for some reason we had a little transfer in our area this week. I'm with a new companion, Elder Miranda from São Paulo. We're getting along great and doing all we need to so that we can collect great fruits from this great work.

As you can see from my pictures, life really is a beach. I got to make a quick visit to my old area this week and take some fancy pictures during the sunset. We had a funny experience while we were trying to take a selfie that wasn't working out right and two girls were walking our way.
Chapple: Hey, go ask those chicks to take our picture.
Me: Nah dude they're gonna think we're trying to flirt with them.
Chapple: Nah, just flash the nametag!
*they pass and as they're passing we hear that they're conversing in English.
Us: WHOA!! Y'all are speaking English?! What the heck?!
Them: *with British accent* Yes. Do you speak it too?
Us: Yeah! We're Americans!
Them: Oh cool, we're from Greece!
So yeah that was pretty dope. Got to do a contact in English with some chicks from Greece. That's something that doesn't really happen like ever.

Anyways, that's about it for me.
Hope y'all have a great week!
Love you all TONS! 

Elder Sanok
(p.s. All that cereal only lasted a week)