Tuesday, April 30, 2013

O Heyy, Benjamin

Sister Carroll thought it was funny that "O Rei Benjamin" (King Benjamin) is pronounced like "Oh hey Benjamin!" So now we always say, "O Heyy Benjamin!!"

You know you are 4 years older than the elders when you think to yourself, "I hope I have a son like Elder So-and-so." That happened. This is also evidence of another mission phenomenon: suddenly you are more stoked than ever to get married and have a family. Sister Duke and I were talking about this. Families are so gorgeous. During conference I was digging all the talks about families. I loved Elder Scott's talk about having a Christ-centered home. The spirit in a Christ-centered home is powerful. It is something this world desperately needs. Mom, Dad, thank you for bringing us kids into the world in such an environment of power and love. Sheesh. Love is so powerful. Love is the whole point of everything. If we miss that, we're missing being alive.

Speaking of love, this week we got to teach in the TRC again. Usually the volunteers are portuguese-speaking members (this week we got to teach a man named Matthew and his son Marcelo. Matthew is married to a real live Lisboeta (person from Portugal), so he speaks with the shh-shh accent of Portugal! They were cool.), but this week one of our volunteers was Joao Paulo, from Sao Paulo (hehe), who is not a member! It was crazy. We went in and started teaching, and then suddenly I thought to just double check that he was a member. He was like, "Nao", and suddenly the whole situation felt 20x more real. I was a lot more nervous, but I also just felt a lot of love for him. I so admired him for being brave enough to come learn about the gospel from really really inexperienced young missionaries. He was so kind as I struggled with Portuguese words - he'd correct me with the kindest smile. Anyway, we tried to teach him about receiving answers to prayers, and I just wanted so badly for him to feel in-touch with God. One of my favorite things about being a missionary is the opportunity to pray with people. I loved doing this before my mission, too, but as a missionary you have so many chances to pray for and with people. It's just lovely.

Something they do in Portugal (apparently) to say something is cool, is they grab their earlobe with their hand and kind of shake it back and forth. i.e. "O! Este e como isso", and they shake their earlobe. Weird, right?!

Want to hear about one of the best parts of my week? So this moring after I came out of the temple, we hung around to take a few pictures. When we were about to head back to the MTC, I turned around and there was NATE, with his arms gesturing outward, wearing a big smile. It was the best moment ever. I gave him a big ol' hug, which freaked out some of the Elders in my district until I told them he's my brother. We got to talk a little. It was such a treat. We headed back to the MTC, and when we were about to cross the threshold past the security booth of the MTC, I heard a faint yell, "ANNIE SANDHOLTZ!!!", and there across the street is Mom, in her flourescent running jacket, waving her arms. She crossed the street and we got to hug and talk a little. So so great. It was such a tender mercy, especially since after reading Mom's letter about Bonnie's diagnosis I just wanted to see you guys and talk to you. It felt strange to feel so removed. So seeing Mom and Nate today was a gift.

I was thinking today about how neat it is to read Sage's and Heather's letters each week. They are both such amazing women, with such different backgrounds and perspectives. I love seeing how they each approach missionary work - how the Lord uses the lives and service of these two beautiful, faithful daughters to reach His children. I am so inspired by both Heather and Sage, and I feel like I have elements of each of them in me. God gives me so many sisters, all over the place. It's the best.

Com muito amor,


Sunday, April 28, 2013

De Que


I love you.

Thank you for writing such beautiful letters every week. They are so rejuvenating and sustaining!!

Mom, I'm worried about Bonnie! I will be praying! I'm so excited for Joe in his trumpet exploits and Coby in baseball and Ben in scuba. Those dudes are the best. Your Sunday jams sound so fun! I'm kind of jealous that I'm missing the stage of our family in which we get to hang out with Dad more. :( It's okay. A year and a half is not that long.

Oh! I'm wearing my Sandholtz Zion ring. Love it. It fits perfectly. :)

This week we got our online language instruction software switched from Brazilian to Continental Portuguese. And man alive -- it's SO DIFFERENT. Or at least seems to be so. The grammar is exactly the same, but there are just all these awesome quirks about how you pronounce things in Portugal. For instance, the Brazilian pronunciation of "de que" is basically just like how you'd say it in Spanish except the "de" is pronounced like the letter G. But in Portugal, they basically don't say these words at all. They just make the sound of the consonant at the beginning of the word, so you almost miss it if you're not listening closely. So "de que" is like beat-boxing. barely a d sound, barely a k sound. COOL, huh? Also, they squish their pronouns into words as if they're not there. So "ajuda-nos" is basically pronounced as if it's spelled "ajudans". It makes it harder to understand when you're listening to it. Sorry. Boring. But I love it. Today we are getting a new teacher who served in Portugal. So excited!

I can't believe I am leaving for Portugal in 2.5 weeks. WHAT!?

I found a pianist!!! I was SOOO spoiled in the BYU school of music. I was used to having great musicians at my beck and call. It's taken three weeks of very cheerful persistence to find a pianist to try out for a musical number with me. Weird, right? Everyone was either too busy or not able to play the music. But it is such a treat to have my violin here. (Thank you thank you Mom!!) I love love love it when I get to play.

Sister Duke continues to be the best companion ever. I came SO close to peeing my pants at least 4 times this week. One time during gym we were running across the MTC courtyard-ish place (lots of missionaries around) and she started to sprint ahead of me. Then, when she was running about 10 feet in front of me, she turned over her shoulder and shouted, "STOP FOLLOWING ME!!!", as if I was some random creepo chasing her across the MTC. I just about died. She's struggling with Portuguese, but this week she hit a turning point where she has started using her vocab to construct random sentences all the time. It kills me. We were running around the field and you know how there's all that construction on 9th east? She pointed to the construction and said, (you have to imagine this in a kind of sarcastic voice) "Eu sei que tu es um trabalhor construccione". Something about the vocal inflection just kills me. I swear I'm going to have a 6-pack by the time I leave the MTC just from laughing so dang hard.

My camera broke. :0 I think it was retribution for using more than my allotted time last week to send you pictures. ;) I'm going to see if I can fix it, but if not I'll maybe just get one in Portugal? Your thoughts?

Guess what I love here? Relief Society. There are so many powerful women here, and when we sing hymns all together in Relief Society it gives me the chills every time. I am so glad I get to be on a mission at this time. Sister Duke and I have gotten to know a bunch of the sisters in our zone and there are so many amazing, admirable women of God here serving missions. I love to envision the next generation being raised by this army of solid RM women. So rad.

List of things I don't miss:
Color Me Mine
Facebook (at ALL)
thinking about myself all the time
going to bed late at night

But I do miss just talking to you guys. I love you all the way. Twice. Infinity. No callbacks.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

mil palavras

1. the sisters in my district doing the frown smile.  from left to right Sister duke, brand, gidney, carroll, miles
2. look who it is!  Melissa Garry!
3. I think this is a pic of me and Sister Duke right when we got here.  it's hard to tell with uploading so sorry if these are all random pictures.

1. the sisters with Elder Passmore.  Totes inappropes to take a pic like this?  Maybe?  I don't know the rules on that.  it was his idea.
2. My district!!
3. the sisters in my district again.
4. Sister Duke and me wearing our lanyards from mom.  We got so many compliments on them!

Uncle Elbie


I so wish I could just spend all day P-day reading your letters and rejoicing in them. Corresponding with you all this way is so joyous! You are all so good with words and have such beautiful lives. Gaaaaah. I love you so much.

Want to hear a great story from this week? On sunday we met with our branch for the first time. Brother Christofferson, one of the counselors in the Branch Presidency, gave the closing talk. At the end of his talk, as part of his testimony, he said something along the lines of: "I love you Elders. I'm excited to see the missionaries you become. I love my wife and my wonderful kids and grandkids. But most of all I love you Sisters. Thank you for giving up your childbearing years to serve the Lord. As you serve faithfully, you will be blessed, and there will be plenty of children for you when you return home."

WHAT!!!???? Sister Duke and I just looked at each other and our eyes got all wide. Then we both immediately looked at our laps and bit our tongues. We were miraculously able to keep from laughing at least until the closing hymn started. Phew! Giving up our childbearing years!? Yep, that is definitely what I was thinking about when I considered the sacrifices I would have to make to go on a mission. It was either go on a mission or stay home and bear children right now. And all these 19-year-olds were definitely thinking that too. Oh mercy. Bless his heart. Oh, and it was also just funny that he accidentally implied that he loves the Sister missionaries more than his own family. Bizarre.

We watch these little video clips about people in class sometimes and then think how we would teach those people. At first I thought they were an MTC resource, but I think they are actually something done by the NY Times. They're called "One in a Million" and they are just little 3 - 5 minute glimpses into a person's life. They are really cool. I think you would especially like them, Wayne. Keep an eye out for them.

The highlight of this week was undoubtedly Tuesday night. Ever since we got here we'd been hearing rumors about how there hadnt been a general authority here for a while, so we were overdue. Well, on Tuesday night we got to devo early so we could have good seats. I was sitting there writing in my journal when suddenly everyone in the auditorium stood up in unison and the room instantly became silent. Elder Scott walked in!! He gave the devotional that night and man, it was powerful. I wish I could describe the experience. He spoke about prayer. His words were beautiful and powerful and instructive. But I feel like I was instructed even more by his manner and his countenance and his attitude. I thought to myself, "This man is a disciple of Jesus Christ. He has acheived the consecrated, humble, grateful, devoted life of a true disciple." He was somehow able to be so personal. At the beginning of his talk he said, "I would love to spend an hour with each of you - talking, sharing, weeping, laughing". And at the end of his talk he paused and then said he was impressed to pronounce an apostolic blessing. He blessed us with many beautiful things, including the ability to master the language we are learning. He also mentioned (both in his talk and in the blessing) that the Sister missionaries serving would find that their choice to serve a mission would "bless you eternally - bless your homes, bless your families, bless your future husbands and children in ways you can't even imagine". Rad, huh? It was such a neat experience. The spirit was tangibly, resonatingly there.

On Thursday night we had a substitute teacher who served in Lisbon! It was awesome and got us all STOKED to get to Portugal. Oh my gosh, you guys, I'm so excited.

Heavenly Father knows us so well. He knew that I was going to adore speaking this language. I still have so so so much to learn, but learning Portuguese absolutely delights me. Especially the crazy Continental accent. It's SO weird. I love it SO much. Brother Mateer (the one who served in Portugal. He's actually from Scotland!) taught us how to say "A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Ulitmos Dias" in the continental accent. There are so many different ways to pronounce the letter S that each word in the name of the church that ends with "os" has a diffferent pronunciation! Crazy!

Oh dangalang I have so much more to tell you. Wayne wanted more character sketches of my district peeps. Sister Brand is great. She's this tiny blonde-haired super interesting illustration major. She was telling us the other day how, as an illustrator, she thinks drawing skinny bodies is boring. "Big bodies have so much more movement. It's beautiful." She has this way nice camera and is taking to Portuguese like a fish because she studies so dang diligently. I think she's going to be a powerful missionary.

Elder Passmore told us a story about his Great Uncle Elbie, who served in WWII and aparently took a whole beach of enemy territory without shooting anybody. Before he told us the story, he said, "Once you hear this story about my Great Uncle Elbie, you're going to say, 'That man's all man.'" His full name is Elbie Bowcook. And Elder Passmore's full name is Denim Garrison Passmore. Oh my H-town (that's a Sister Brand-ism) I wish you could meet them all.

Ok well I'm over time, even though I sneakily printed your emails out, logged off, read them, then logged back in to write back.

Thank you for the love and prayers and mail.

Mom - thank you for the packages! Mail is so fun here. The chocolate cherry bread was divine. Sister Brand especially loved it and told me to tell you thank you. I think sweeter chocolate chips would be a good addition, and maybe some sugar. Elder Passmore asked if it was made with rye flour. Was it? We loved it so much, even though we're never hungry. Don't feel like you have to send goodies - they just sit on our classroom shelf and tempt us. Then we go to the cafeteria. Then we go back to the classroom. Then we go back to the cafeteria. Then we (hallelujah!) have our beloved Gym time, where Sister Duke teaches me beastly workouts and we sweat hard.


Time is so short. But I love being a missionary and I love having the best family in the universe. I'm super stoked for the SZ ring! I hope it's a good fit. Between my 10 fingers it's bound to fit at least one, right?

O evangelho e verdadeiro! The gospel is true. It really is. It is too beatiful and uplifting and empowering to not be true. I know this because we're teaching a fake investigator named Augosto and he has 4 kids and I want to meet them SO BAD even though I know they don't exist and he's "coming to church" with us on Sunday and I can't wait and when we sit in his "house" and teach him I feel SO much love for him and when I tell him that I know the gospel of Jesus Christ will bring more light and peace and seguranca into his home I mean it. Really, truly, 100%.


Thank you for sending me poetry. I love it.

Be excellent to yourselves and to each other. Nate, good luck getting all ready for quals and then the mish! Keep me posted on that time table!

Ah, my heart, it's like, my heart. It hurts so good.

Hug each other for me.


Friday, April 12, 2013



Sounds like this month is going to be insane. You can do it. What a blessing though; you'll be back in time for Fall semester 2014, right? That will be nice. Holy Cow! You'll be in the field before I will! You're not going into the MTC right? If you are, we can totes party it up at lunch.

Oh man. I was all collected when I came in here and then I printed out your letters to read later (we don't have lots of time for email) but I read bits and pieces and now I'm just all over the place with excitement! That is so wonderful.

Ok. Where to start? This place is cool. There really is a spirit of faith and comfort here. One of my favorite things about it is how much we focus. We study, we pray, we learn Portuguese, we read PMG, we teach fake investigators. We focus. No music, no phones, no movies or anything. I thought that would be hard but it's actually just refreshing. You can think. You can focus. You can learn words like "paralelipipedo" (probably spelled wrong. It means "cobblestone" in Portuguese.) Don't get me wrong -- we goof off plenty. Put 6 Elders between 18 and 19 in a tiny classroom and you get lots of joking and energy. But it's fun. I like the Elders and overall have been impressed at their maturity. PEOPLE, man. It was such a relief for me when I got here and remembered that the thing that makes life cool is PEOPLE and you get to meet lots of cool, interesting, good people here.

I wish you guys could just meet my district. I know it's boring when missionaries email and tell you about the people they love and you don't even know them, but I'm going to do it anyway. Here are a few snatches of the people in my life. Our district is 6 Elders, 6 Sisters.

Elder Frasure is learning Portuguese quickly and clears my tray for me at basically every meal. His companion, 18-yr-old Elder Beckstrand, is our District Leader and cries every time he talks about his little sister. He's always making up fake Portuguese words and basically everything he says is funny.

Elder Garcia is a sweetheart. I imagine Wayne being a little bit like him in the MTC, I don't know why. I told him that one of my favorite General Conference talks ever is "Love Her Mother" by Elaine S. Dalton (remember that one? She talked to fathers about how one of the best things they can do for their kids is love and respect their wife a lot. It's beautiful. That lady is a rockstar. Sad she got released.) and he was super interested in reading it and asked if I thought he could buy a copy of it at the MTC bookstore.

Elder Passmore is this skinny, goofy Idahoan whose chin has become legendary in our district. (In his words: "who else has a chin you can hold on to?") The Elders call him "The Crimson Chin". He doesn't have any pictures of his family or friends or anything, so when people are showing each other pictures he pulls out these little pieces of notebook paper on which he has drawn cartoons of his family, his nonexistent girlfriend, etc. In the one of his family, his brother is hefting a bull over his shoulder. So funny!! And I wish you guys could hear the way he speaks Portuguese. It's priceless.

Oh man. I'm running out of time.

Sister Duke, my comp, is the best ever. She loves running and we run at the same pace. We loooove gym time. She's quiet but SUPER funny.

Me: "My nose is so itchy!"
Elder Frasure: "Mine too! Someone must be thinking about us."
Sister Duke, dead-pan: "It's me."

Last night she whispered something up to me on the top bunk that was sooo funny. We both started laughing and actually had to leave the room to not keep the other 4 girls up. I thought to myself, "THIS is what it feels like to have a sister." It was a sweet moment.

I love Portuguese.

Ok. Good luck with finals and everything. Thank you for the mail. Makes my day. I'll write you guys paper letters time permitting.

Remember that I love your guts. All of them.

Love Love love love LOVE love love love LOVE,


PS. I'm trying to figure out how to upload pictures but it's not going to happen today. Sorry!