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)