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

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!