Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad!

First of all, Happy Birthday Dad! I hope skiing is a nice present for you. I miss skiing a lot. I still remember those skiing classes in Utah though where I learned about pizza and french fries. You must feel honored that everyone around the world is celebrating your birthday tonight. One of our investigators is inviting us over for dinner in fact, just to celebrate your birthday. He mentioned new year or something too, but I was surprised he knew it was your birthday.

It was so nice to talk to you all last Tuesday. It felt so unreal after not seeing everyone for about 7 months. I'm still laughing at the fact that mom had three pages of questions ready to ask. And of course she wrote it in permanent marker on printer paper like she always does. That made me happy to see. And I'm glad Pete still feels at home in our house. I remember when he used to stand outside our front door to connect to our Internet so he could download things quicker. Now he's already a part of the family. Thanks for telling me that you guys are going skiing. I'll be missing it like crazy over here in the heat. The closest thing we got to snow came yesterday. It hailed (sp?) like it never has before here in Águas Lindas. Luckily, during the storm, the whole ward was having a big lunch together and we were all safe inside the church. Speaking of, this storm was another one of those "coincidences" you see every day on a mission. There were many investigators and less actives at this lunch event and they would have left sooner if it weren't for the storm. Because it was raining like crazy, no one could leave, and we (the 4 missionaries of the ward) had a chance to have great teaching opportunities and conversations with those people. I continue to love the openness of the people I meet. As a missionary, it's not rare to get stopped on the street by someone and have a deep, nourishing conversation with someone you don't know. I like the fact that people speak what is, and they don't pretend. For example, if someone is fat, they describe them as fat. That's a harsh example (although true), but because of this cultural norm, people are more open about their beliefs and--at least in my experience--more true to themselves. It's so easy to get to know people and to open up to them. I've noticed that here family and friends take precedence over the things that normally crowd our lives with triviality, which I like a lot.

This week something crazy happened. A lady, Isabel, whom we met just a week ago, died of heart problems 3 days ago. We passed by on Saturday to talk to her but chairs were set up in the yard and her friends and family were there. They were preparing some kind of funeral service. It was shocking because we had no idea she had health problems. We had planned on teaching her that day but instead found her friends and family there. We told them that we had met her that week and had come to share a message with her. We explained what we do and asked if we could pass by later and share a message about life after death. They said we could come back in a week. The most poignant feeling from that experience comes from the memory that I had prayed the night before to know who we should visit and what we should teach. I hadn't even thought about visiting Isabel until I had prayed and asked for guidance. Maybe it didn't make a different that we passed by exactly that day instead of any other day to talk with her friends and family that were united there, but it's humbling to know that one prompting led to a potential opportunity to share the wonderful message of the plan of salvation to people that are in the midst of sadness and confusion about why things like this happen. It's not an exaggeration to say that prayer is a conversation. The Book of Mormon and words of the prophet and apostles teach us how God responds to our earnest, prayerful requests. Upon studying the resources we have been given and applying them, our prayers will become infinitely more meaningful and useful. They will become less of a checklist of petitions and more of a conversation with a loving Heavenly Father. They will create our days instead of completing our days. They will guide and accompany our daily actions instead of following them.

Every day is a testimony builder in some way or another. And often I don't realize that until I start to say what I have learned. Even the burning sun and crazy rain storms have many things to teach us. No two days are the same, so every day has something different to teach. It's such a cool thing to finally realize.


Well! Have a wonderful Dad's New Year and drink some sparkling grape juice for me! I hope life is dandy.

Love,
Elder Bryce Young


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We just talked to Bryce!!!!

We were able to skype Bryce today!  It was so wonderful being able to talk to him.  He looks great and is doing so well.  We talked with him for about an hour.  We all asked him lots of questions and his brothers played Christmas songs for him on different instruments.  He listened to Jingle Bells on the trumpet, ukelele and accordian and Braxton played How Great Thou Art on the piano.  We sang other hymns and Christmas songs with him.  Mom didn't even cry until we sang the hymn Hark The Harold Angels Sing before we said goodbye.
He is really enjoying his new area and is really happy.  It was fun hearing him speak in Portuguese.  We will be able to skype again on Mother's Day. We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Pictures From Elder Young

  
                                    Helping the lady paint everything GREEN!!!
                                     Feliz Natal -Elder Young and Elder Reese
                                                    A beautiful sunset
                                               Bryce's typical breakfast

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Feliz Navidad!

Fastest week so far. It started out on Monday with a family night in a members home. There were a bunch of people and I felt like I was at home. As bare as the surroundings were, the cozy feeling of being with family was there and nice to be a part of. We even had popcorn for a snack afterward. For once, we weren't the ones teaching the lesson, and so I was able to sit in the chair of a quiet observer and watch how spending time as a family really brought those people together. Spending time with family--setting time apart for family, is crucial these days. I was so grateful that day for my family home evenings in the past.

Tuesday was one of those crazy days I will never forget. After eating lunch with one of our investigators, her friend asked us to help her with a little project in her house. She said it would take no more than 30 minutes. We started walking to her house with her, and on the way she mentioned that the project she had in mind was painting her refrigerator. When we got there we observed without difficulty that anything that had the capacity to be green or be painted green--was green. She told us she would like her fridge and her cabinets to be painted green. (she was running out of things to paint green). It ended up taking 4 hours, just painting things green. Haha. I laughed the whole time but my companion was just ready to go because he couldn't believe we were actually doing this. It was a funny experience. And there was no reasoning with her or leaving early because of an appointment -- she had her mind set, haha. Sometimes you just have to let go of your preoccupations, your worries, and submit to the task. I actually enjoyed it, because it was hilarious, and I learned a little more about how to relax in the midst of a busy routine and a busy mind.

Wednesday was a busy day teaching and trying to find people at home. Some days you just have bad luck and no one is home. 

Thursday was spent mostly at the Christmas conference for all the missionaries in our mission. We sang Christmas music and sounded even better than it did in the choir rehearsals. Then a few discourses (talks? oh boy, In portuguese it's discursos) were given about Christ and the significance of his birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. Afterward, I went with the choir to sing in the main bus station in Brasilia. We sand Christmas music for around 2 hours and many people stopped to listen and ask who we were, etc. It was a good opportunity to invite people to learn about the Restoration of the Gospel and learn that we're not just weird people who walk around with a white shirt and tie. I enjoy seeing the success of activities like this because missionary work can and should be so much more than knocking on doors or just stopping people in the street. It was also nice to feel more of the Christmas season here.

Friday we finally got in contact with Cida, who was moving to a new house while we passed her house. We wouldn't have known to where she was moving unless we had been there in that moment. So I'm glad we found her. She has committed to be baptized already, but after the other missionaries that were here left, shyed away from it a little. We were at least able to help her move and talk a little about how she's doing. I hope we find opportunities to talk to her more. Friday night there was a Christmas ward activity and many people showed up. I got to be all cool and play Christmas music on the piano while people conversed. I felt like one of those people at a fancy hotel playing as people lounge in the lobby. Edson and all his family came to the event and liked it. I also overheard Edson explaining to his son the importance of priesthood authority, marriage, and the temple. He understands the doctrine of the church very well and is wants to keep paying tithing even though he isn't a member yet. He has to get married before being baptized, so that's the only thing that's taking time. He has accepted all the invitations we have offered him and is living the commandments. I just hope to be here when he get's baptized with his family. 

Yesterday E. Queiroz was sick so E. Reese and I went to work together. We visited as many less active members we could that we found on the member list. Almost all of them had moved, but we made good contacts with the people that are living there now. In Preach My Gospel, it says that there is almost always someone that has been prepared to hear the gospel in the family of whom you are teaching, or in the neighborhood or the house next to whom you are teaching. It's clear, also, that there are people prepared to hear the message of the restoration in the houses of old members who used to live there. The feeling of being guided to where you should go is humbling. Yesterday E. Reese and I felt that feeling strongly and knew the people we talked to we didn't meet by mere coincidence. It was cool to be able to talk to E. Reese while we walked in between appointments, too. Because we are both learning so much at the same time, the conversations we have are always edifying. 

In church yesterday the Bishop gave me the opportunity to translate for the father of someone in our ward who was visiting. He had such an awesome testimony so I felt pressed to be able to convey it accurately in Portuguese. Thankfully, he knows German, and knew how to make the job of a translator a little easier, so all went well. He was born in Germany and joined the church in his youth while living there. Because he joined the church, his family kicked him out of his house. He left for America and was adopted here. He grew up with the liberty going to church and choosing whether or not to serve a mission. He sent in his papers to serve a mission and got sent right back to Germany. He had great success there as a missionary and bore his testimony with powerful conviction of the truthfulness of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was clear to see how loving he is and that he lives what he believes. 

Christmas is coming! Thanks for the packages and music! I'm looking forward so much to talk to you all on the 25th. I feel like because there is so much to say I'll end up staring blankly at the screen wondering what to say. Haha. I'm sure you will have questions though and stuff. Especially with so many people to talk to, the time will go fast I'm sure.
Have a very merry Christmas! And listen to all the Christmas music we always listen to for me. And eat some cinnamon rolls for me too.

Love,

Elder Bryce Young

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas in Brazil

Excellent afternoon fam,

It's so weird that today starts the third week of this transfer. It's almost half way done already. And Christmas is sneaking up on me faster than Fox grabs any given character in Smash Bros 64. 
It doesn't feel like December at all. It's nice and hot, and the only notion of Christmas I've seen so far is red ties and an occasional Jingle Bells playing from the radio of a car whose driver accidently picked a Christmas station to listen to. BUT I did see a huge blow up Santa Claus on the roof of some big store in Asa Sul a month ago. Elder Queiroz and I already have the 24th planned though. And it will be a great Christmas. 

Elder Reese was sick for half of this week so I took turns staying home with Elder Golzio and Elder Queiroz to accompany him. I had a lot of time to study, which is always nice. We taught Edson and two of his boys. I don't remember if I talked about them yet. Edson is committed to get baptized at the end of this month. Rayanne also committed to get baptized at the end of the month too. Because we only had 2 available missionaries at a time to work in both areas, there wasn't much time to visit our investigators. Sunday was a special stake conference at which we heard from M. Russell Ballard. He emphasized the link between knowing and doing, relating to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He emphasized its simplicity and applicability.

The bishop here is young and energetic and ready to try some new things to help the ward. We're anxious to teach the members how to share the gospel with others in natural and simple ways. There's nothing better than having a member invite their friend and being present in the lessons with them. 

I've gotta go sooner than normal today because only one computer is working.

Love you guys!
- Elder Young

Saturday, December 8, 2012

New Photos from Elder Young in Aguas Lindas

  
                       Elder Young with city Aguas Lindas, Golas in the background
                                                 Bryce chasing a cow!!!
                               A family Elder Young is teaching and other Elders
                                        Elder Reece tracting on the dirt road
                                      Elder Young and a family he is teaching
                     Bryce on a dirt street -he says it is hard to keep his shoes clean!
 The Elders have rigged the shower so it now has hot water!  They are afraid to turn it on.
                           A rainbow just outside of Bryce's window one morning.
 The name Aguas Lindas suggests beautiful water, so Bryce took a picture of the "beautiful water"
                                           A rainy day in Aguas Lindas

Thursday, December 6, 2012

First week in Aguas Lindas, Golas

Hello,

I love it here. Yeah, the water isn't really beautiful as the name of the place suggests, but being here is. I like the creative opportunity that being in a new area affords. The only thing I don't like is the rooster next to my window on the roof of the neighbor's house that screams at me every morning at 6am. 6am! 30 minutes before I wake up. Elder Queiroz and I work well together and we already met many of the members and found 5 people to go to church with us yesterday. One of them was so excited he said he wanted to pay tithing the first Sunday. Towards the beginning of the week, we went around the neighborhoods close by the church to members houses to get to know them. A lot of the addresses we had been given were old and many of the people we sought had already moved. Consequently, we found new people to teach! We also just ran into a lot of people by chance that have either gone to the church and gone inactive or have an interest. It's really interesting how many coincidences you run into just walking around. In fact, on Sunday when church was starting, through the window in the chapel we spotted three people walking in the front doors. They came by just to use the bathroom but we talked to them about the church and invited them to the meeting. They were really curious and accepted that we visit them this week to talk a little more. 
To sum this week up, we found a good amount of new investigators either by reference or by running into them in the midst of looking for old contacts the other missionaries did. Edson, the guy who wanted to pay tithing, brought his whole family to church and really liked it. Also a girl, Rayani, missed her soccer practice and rehearsal to go to church and said she enjoyed it. I'm humbled by the sacrifices these people make. Not just in going to church, but the sacrifices they make in service and in family matters.

Until next week!
- Elder Bryce Young

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bryce Loving Lago Sul

Elder Young with Eduardo and Elder Parada
Bryce Feeding a Monkey!
Elder Young with one of his favorite families in the ward and Elder Parada
                             

New Companion and New Area!

Well, I never thought I would be the one transferred, but last night I was told I was leaving but not where. So I packed up my two suitcases with all my stuff and left Lago Sul this morning. I went to the chapel where I met my new companion, Elder Queiroz. We took a bus to the central bus station, and then took a bus to my new apartment in Aguas Lindas. It turns out that E. Reese, who was in the MTC with me, got transferred and is living in the same apartment we are. It will be a lot of fun living with him. I don't know much about this area and neither does my companion. He's been on his mission for a little over a year but he hasn't been in this area yet. So we'll be figuring things out together kinda like E. Parada and me in Lago Sul. 

The last week in Lago Sul went pretty well. We had a majority of the people we're teaching at church. We introduced some of our investigators to the missionaries in São Sebastião as well. I'm excited to hear news about how things are going there later on. 

As difficult as it was to leave all the people I met in Lago Sul, I'm grateful to be able to experience another area. I can tell it will be a lot different already. Lago Sul was unlike any other area in the mission so I'm about to find out what most of the other places around Brasilia are like.

My mind still hasn't taken in the fact that the place I'm living is different, the way missionary work here will go, and so forth. It's hard to believe 4.5 months have gone by in Lago Sul. It's so cool to be able to develop such strong relationships with the people you teach, the members, and other missionaries in such a short amount of time. Vívian's Mom is one of those people that is immediate friends with everyone. She talks really loud and always speaks her mind. We have only been to her house a few times and the elders from S.S (São Sebastião from now on) and we already have a great relationship with her family. Vívian went to church on Sunday and brought a friend. I can't wait to hear how everything goes there while I'm here.

Next week I'll have some more news for you guys about this new place. Until then!

Love,
Elder Bryce Young

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More pictures from Elder Young !!!

Bryce on the Bridge

                                           Family in Elder Young's ward
Elder Young with the missionaries  from his zone

Preparation Day with Missionaries from Elder Young's zone

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Before Thanksgiving

Hello!

This week was busy. E. Parada and I traveled a little bit during the week to complete interviews outside our area. I also did a trade with E. Higbee and E. Gomez to work a little in their area because E. Sosa has to stay home because of his hurt foot. We also had a mission conference on Friday. So as a result of all that, we barely had time to visit anyone in our area. BUT, Sunday was awesome. We had 10 or more people visit the church. Sunday was the childrens' program so some neighbors of the members came. One of the families was the one we started teaching recently. José, Maria, Tiago, and Mateus. José said as long as his kids want to come, he's willing to take them every Sunday. It's nice that they have a car so they can come to our ward in Lago Sul. The other people we're teaching go to São Sebastião. It's a lot easier to follow up with the people who come to our ward.

The mission conference went really well. It was cool to see everyone I was friends with in the MTC there. A really great change was made. More emphasis is being put on "Teaching when you find people, and finding people when you´re teaching" (A topic in Preach My Gospel). So as a result, we don't have a goal of how many people we talk to and invite or get addresses from anymore. Instead, it's how many good conversations you had and how many of them lead to people that are actually interested. I like this a lot because in the past, I felt like a machine talking to people. Most of the focus was on asking them if you could come by and talk to them another day or inviting them to church. Almost everyone says yes even though they're not interested. With the focus more on a nourishing conversation, it's easy to see if their actually interested, and to develop a friendship and a yearning in the first encounter.

Transfers are next Monday. Without a doubt, either E. Parada or I am leaving Lago Sul. Very often, it's the older missionary that leaves in this situation (when we've been in the same area for so long). So I'll probably stay in Lago Sul for 1.5 more months. I'm happy with whatever happens. I still love it here and members are getting more involved in missionary work. 

Hope you guys have a good Thanksgiving!
Love,
Elder Bryce Young

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Working in Sao Sebastiao


Hello!

I´m a little later today sending emails because our zone had another activity in Asa Sul. Zone activities take up most of the day so these days are usually pretty rushed Pdays. 
One of the missionaries living with us, E. Sosa, hurt his ankle. His companion, E. Gomez, stayed with him most of the week, but in order to help them out in their area of work, E. Parada and I worked a little with E. Gomez during the week. It´s always great to trade companions for a day to learn how they like to teach. I always learn something during these "trades". I got to experience Sao Sebastiao again and meet some people there. Because houses are closer in Sao Sebastiao, I was able to teach more lessons than normal with E. Gomez. I´m still amazed how quickly a love for these people comes. I´ve met so many people who live only with bare necessities and still serve others so readily. This week we met Vívian, her friend, and her family. She lives with her family in a house that is just one big room. Their shower is right next to the couch and they all sleep in the same room. Vívian´s mom basically taught the lesson for us last time. E. Parada and I asked her a question, and she started telling us her life story. She told us about how her son´s life was saved, how her husband´s life completely turned around, and about how she prayed for hours one night for food for her kids and the next day people showed up at her door with baskets full. She explained what faith is for her and the role God has had in her life. She has no doubt in her testimony of prayer. Miracles have happened in her life because of her diligence in prayer. She talked for quite some time relating stories of hers. When she finished I told her how happy I was to hear everything she said. I said "Cícera, you just explained everything we believe in and everything we had to say today." She is one of those moms with a strong personality and a firm conviction in her beliefs. Vívian is the same way and is very honest in how she feels and follows through with the commitments she makes. I´m grateful for the chance to talk to this family and I´m grateful for how much they teach me.

Have a great week!
Love,

- Elder Bryce Young

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bryce Busy in Brazil


Hello!

This week we had a lot of busy work to do so we had a little less time to teach. We had 
to pick up stuff from the office (which is a long way away), fix a problem
with E. Parada´s credit card, and we went to Aguas Claras (which is also pretty far) to
teach some of the sister missionaries´ investigators (I´d never heard of doing this, but it was cool).

We had a cool lesson with Leo this week. We watched a film about Christ´s visit to America to accompany
his reading of 3 Nephi 11. He really liked it and said he wished more people knew about this. We talked
more with him about trying to stop smoking. He thought he could stop easily but he was getting
a little discouraged. We encouraged him to read the scriptures and pray anytime he feels an urge
to smoke. We asked his sister what changes she´s seen in Leo since he started talking to us. She mentioned
that they stopped arguing and he has more patience. It´s easy to see the change that´s already
taken place in him. It´s great to see how quickly the gospel can change someone. I know he´ll be able
to stop smoking if he stays determined.

Eduardo has been coming to church for about 2 months now. He still doesn´t accept everything taught
but he makes a wonderful contribution to the gospel principles class with his insights. Everything he
says is well thought out and perfectly concordant with what we believe, so I scratch my head quite a 
bit, wondering why he doesn´t accept the church. I know he enjoys coming to 
church and feels something different while he´s there. When he becomes a member someday he´ll be
an excellent leader, I know that. 

The ward choir is singing soon and we got to rehearse with them. I was relieved to be able to sing in a choir again.
I think I´ll play in sacrament meeting something on the piano too, which I´m excited about.

Every day is busy and tiring but I´m enjoying the learning and growing. Keep it real fambam.

Love,
Bryce

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Speaking In Church

Today is a little bit busy again because we had another Zone Activity (which is always in Asa Sul--1.5 hrs away). The buses are still as ridiculous as ever, haha. The buses are like cans of sardines. Very awkward. 

I felt close to home as I spoke in church yesterday. During the week I didn´t have much time to prepare, but I prepared what I could during the week in personal study. It was about family history and temple work. I used the story you gave me about Grandpa Clifton and his wife going to the temple on their wedding anniversary. Everything came together so easily and the talk flowed perfectly. I know the words came to me so easily because of the prayers I had given that day and during the week to help me say something that can edify the members in the congregation. During the talk I didn´t stumble for words, and my accent was almost completely gone for the moment. One member commented that I spoke perfectly. Of course that´s not true, but I could feel a noticeable difference in how I portrayed myself and the way the thoughts flowed and how easy it was to say what I felt I should say. I know the spirit put the words in my mind so I could touch the heart of someone. My talk took 10 minutes and it felt like 5. I felt so happy to stand and bare my testimony and to bare it with confidence. 

PHOTOS! Bryce on the Bus and More Buildings

"Hi Everyone!"

Conselho da Justiça Federal  (or Federal Justice Building)

Brazilian National Congress
Brasilia Supreme Court Building
Elders who live in the same apartment as our Elder Young


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Elder Young in Brazil

Hello! This week we found two more families to teach. Well, I´m still not sure how everyone is related in one of the families. The mom´s name is Janet. She lives with her 3 kids and their cousins. There are a few houses next to hers where more of their extended family lives. It´s cool that they all live together so close. It´s like Mom´s dream. The other family (same condominium) consists of Lucio, Lilhiam, and their two sons Flavio and (I didn´t hear the other one´s name). Flavio was someone we talked to at the bus stop a few days before we visited him. We went to his house and his mom and dad talked a little about what a great son he is. They said that he is going through a difficult time with pressure from friends and such. The conversation with them flowed really well. We talked about faith, about how he can apply it. They agreed to go to church but didn´t show up. There´s a chance they went to the one in São Sebastião though. Almost all of the investigators we have been visiting in Itaipú said they wanted to go to church, but the church in São Sebastião is always more convenient to go to so it´s hard to follow up with them and to make sure they have a good experience there. We taught the Word of Wisdom to Leo this week and he accepted it right off the bat. He essentially said, "well it´s a commandment isn´t it? I´ll stop smoking and drinking right away." He is progressing a lot. He´s great. He has a really friendly manner of communicating and his family really likes us. ´ 

Eduardo is an interesting person. He still doesn´t trust in receiving a confirmation of something through prayer and he hasn´t tried to sincerely pray about the Book of Mormon. The interesting thing is that he likes all the principles in the Book of Mormon and agrees that it concords with the bible. He likes all the people in the church and gives excellent comments in Sunday school, but doesn´t believe that the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith or that he was a prophet. He sustains the assertion that he was a very creative young boy. I love Eduardo, he´s awesome. I really enjoy talking with him and learn tons every time E. Parada and I visit him. I just hope he gains confidence in the power of prayer. Because he loves to read and studies like crazy, we gave him a copy of "Jesus the Christ" by James Talmage. I know he´ll love it. 

Yesterday (occurrences like this seem to happen frequently with us) we were getting off the bus and heading for the chapel when a lady speaking Spanish called us over to the meridian between the two roads we were crossing. She said she is a member but hasn´t been to church in a year and wants to go back. She asked where the church was. We planned a visit with her this week and also told her to meet us in the same exact spot to go to church next week. It´s cool to have so many little encounters like this with people.

The theme in church yesterday seemed to be all about taking time during our busy lives to think about what´s important. Pres. Monson gave a talk in May entitled "A Corrida da Vida" about this. It was a nice reminder to stop and think about not only what´s important for our life in the next 10 years but also what´s important for eternity, life after this. We gotta stop and smell the roses sometimes. Just because E. Parada doesn´t laugh and doesn´t think it´s funny, I like to literally stop and smell the roses sometimes on the way to appointments. What a good phrase. I´m grateful for its literal applicability. Like Alma says in the Book of Mormon, all things denote that there is a god, even the earth and all things that are upon the face of it. I was struck by the thought yesterday at how time might function outside of our sphere of living. The concept we have of time in this life will not continue in the same manner in the next. Time is a trivial thing elsewhere,(for sure for God) but here, time means everything. It controls all aspects of our lives. In order to keep an eternal perspective at all times we need to minimize our preoccupation with time and focus on the quality of our activities rather than the time required to complete them. Living in a immense growth of productivity, it´s hard to keep a constant eye on minimizing our preoccupation with time, but that´s just one of our trials these days--healthy resistance that helps us grow. Considering that time is much more trivial after this life, and that this life is a time of probation and a time to prepare to meet God, (Alma 12) the real focus should be on preparation. And that involves taking TIME (our  precious resource) to re-align our priorities, to study things of eternal value, to remember our covenants with God, to focus on our family and on our spiritual development. I love that merely looking at the sky or the stars or other creations can prompt questions that have to do with eternity. There´s no way it´s a coincidence that they do. I am thankful for the inspired words of those who guide the church and the thoughts they invoke. It´s so cool that meeting together at church acts as a realignment of priorities every week as well as a renewal of covenants we´ve made to God. 

Have a good week fambam! I hope you all are whale(s). 

Love,
Elder Bryce Young

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Staying in Lago Sul


Well hello!

Today is another transfer day where some people stay, some people leave, some people--well that´s about it actually. I´ll be staying in Lago Sul with E. Parada for at least another 1.5 months and I´m excited. I´ve gotten a better hang of how things work around here and I´m so happy to be visiting the people we´re visiting. Cida is progressing and, after she gets to know the ward a little better, she said she wants to get baptized. Leo is opening up and really liking the Book of Mormon. He says he knows it´s true but we´re trying to help him understand the importance of prayer and a response from prayer. 

One potential hang up (I don´t think I´ve ever used that phrase, hopefully it works in this context...) is that these people live closer to the church in São Sebastião than the church in Lago Sul. The boundaries for our area are poorly defined. As of now, this condominium where they live is in our area so we´re working there (no missionaries have ever gone there). We´d like to take them to Lago Sul so we can work with them and the ward at the same time, but this is difficult for them (and the type of people are a lot different). We talked to the Bishop about what he would have us do. He´s going to talk to the Stake President about the boundaries and maybe re-dividing things. So we´ll see how it all works out soon. As of now we´ll continue working in this condominium close to São Sebastião and the other condominiums closer to "Lago Sul" Lago Sul. 

E. Parada and I had a cool experience yesterday. Preface: last week we ran into a nice married couple in Lago Sul. They said they would like to have us over and gave us their number. We tried calling them a few times but their phone was always turned off. After trying 3 different times, Elder Parada thought "I think this 6 is supposed to be a 4" so he tried the whole number with 4 instead of a 6 and no one answered. 10 minutes later someone called back and asked who was talking and why we had called. E. Parada said we´re missionaries and explained what we do and said "Honestly, I´m not quite sure why I called you". The guy on the other end then explained that he is getting a divorce with his wife and is having a really hard time. He said he had been praying just before we called that God would help him because he had no where to turn and is looking for a new start in his life. We wrote down his name and address to pass to the missionaries that live in his area. I´m grateful for experiences like this that act as reminders of the power of prayer. It is common to pray for the same things everyday, such as the safety of one´s family. Sometimes I forget to look back and see how my family really has been blessed with safety. The things we pray for are never trivial for the Lord. Keeping track of what I pray for has been one of the strongest faith building habits I´ve ever learned. I remember in general conference someone said "Because we see things often, we see them less and less". This principle applies to the answers to our prayers. As soon as we start looking for how our prayers have been answered, we´ll find out exactly how.

Take excellent care of yourselves, (even you, Blake)

Love,
Bryce


Sunday, October 14, 2012

General Conference is GREAT!

Greetings,

What a great General Conference we just had. I don´t think anyone gets as excited as missionaries do around conference time. Sometimes it´s funny to watch. I´d love to talk about all the talks given because they all have interlaced messages and all work together to apply the principles of the gospel to our time. I loved the emphasis on family and on children that many of the speakers conveyed. And I´m so happy that Dieter Uchtdorf and Thomas Monson mentioned the importance of enjoying the journey and stepping back to witness the beauty around us. I thought of Mom when Uchtdorf said "Find joy in the journey" because we have a little sign (Actually it´s big where everyone can see) in our house that says this and we can see it every time we leave the house. She reminded me of it in one of her letters and I can never forget it. Life is not meant to only be appreciated in retrospect, and we don´t listen to music just to hear the last note. Be happy now and look "less with your eyes and more with your heart." Thinking about Uchtdorf´s talk reminds me about what Henry B. Eyring reminded us-- the joy in spending our time with those we love is not in the activity, but with the feelings that come with it. 

Cida is reading the Book of Mormon and really likes it. She says she can feel that it is true. She is excited to go to church this week. 
We met a few more people in this new place, Itaipu. A guy named Leo, his sister, and his cousin. We have only talked to him once, but we´re going back tonight. The first lesson we taught them went really well. I´ve been trying to take the advice of Elder Holland in not thinking ahead of time what I´m going to say to people, but instead, listening 100 percent and trusting that you´ll know what to say to help that person. That´s what made this lesson so good. I was able to ask questions more naturally and converse more naturally. I also applied this to talking people I meet just walking on the sidewalk. It´s so cool watching people open up as you just listen to them, not thinking about anything you might say next. Thoughts will come to your mind, as it says in the doctrine and covenants. And the really cool part is that the thoughts that come to your mind, questions to ask that come to you, are your own--they´re genuine. 

Things are great over here. I sent a few pictures I took this week. One is
on the edge of Lago Sul (you can see the bridge deep in the background) and the other is


a picture I took while walking through Cond Itaipu (Elder Parada walking diligently ahead). 

Have a terrific week!

Love,
Bryce

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Metro-Gospel Metaphor (Photos added!)

Hey Family!

What a nice avalanche of emails I see. My inbox is just over-flowing with elation from you guys. I´m glad to know people are happy and life is just as busy and crazy as normal. I´m looking forward to the pictures you sent! And I loved the ones you sent through email (especially the Halloween one. Thanks Ben, haha) Home hasn´t changed quite yet.

    Before I forget--
Mom, you´ll love this-
Today I was walking down the street on the way to get some lunch and someone parked on the side of the road said "Hey! over here! Come here!" I didn´t even notice what they said because I was in Portuguese mode--it takes a second to switch. But I looked over and a nice lady was getting out of her car with a huge smile on her face. She said "Missionaries! I´m from Utah!". She was so happy to see us (Elder Parada, Elder Dos Santos, and Elder Higbee) walking by. She said she is visiting her daughter who lives in Lago Sul and couldn´t pass up talking to the missionaries when she saw us. She said she does this everytime she sees missionaries. She took a picture and said she wanted to call our parents to tell them how we´re doing and that she saw us. I laughed and was so happy because at dinner Dad used to always take a picture of the missionaries and mail it to their parents. Her name is Carol and she´ll probably call you soon. Her son served a mission about 12 years ago and she started crying just talking about it. She is so nice and reminded me of Mom. She asked all the same questions Mom would ask about how we´re doing and such. So be be on the lookout for someone with a strange number calling you asking about me and asking for your email.
(See photos above and below.)
E. Young, E. Dos Santos, E. Higbee, E. Parada, Morgan and son
This week we visited a lot of people in Itaipu. We found a lot of new people to teach, which is exciting. We met two people, Cida, and her husband (not sure how to write his name), and invited them to church. They live closer to the church in São Sebastião so they went there instead of Lago Sul. The other missionaries that live with us accompanied them at church though. Cida said she has really good feelings about what we´ve shared with her about the restoration. It´s also been a cool experience watching people pray for the first time. It´s so great because you know they´re learning something that will bless their lives significantly. I´m also so humbled by the people that live in Itaipu. They work so hard just to provide for their family. And Cida and her husband don´t judge anyone. They are honest, genuine people.

Saturday I went with E. Moreira (Zone Leader who lives with us) to Gaurá for a baptismal interview with Antonio, a guy that wanted to get baptized that Sunday. I didn´t know Antonio but I met him that night. For those who aren´t familiar with what a "baptismal interview" is, it´s just a time to get to know the person getting baptized and to talk to them about their feelings, beliefs (or testimony, as we say), and to see how their doing in their commitments to follow the commandments. Antonio can´t read or talk and he can´t understand very well because of a mental condition he´s had since birth. E. Moreira related his experience having a baptismal interview with him. His Mom acted as sort of a translator because she understands him better than anyone else. E. Moreira talked to her and she would relate it in a way Antonio could understand. If it were a question, Antonio would reply to E. Moreira. E. Moreira said he couldn´t understand what he said, but he didn´t have to because he could feel so strongly what he wanted to say. Just meeting him, I could sense Antonio´s happiness and spirit. He might not be able to read or write or understand very well but I´m pretty sure he could feel better than anyone that was there. I know the gospel is for everyone. No one is excluded from the blessings of it.

On the way home, because of this, I was in a more speculative mood than normal. We took the metro back home and I thought as I looked out the window as the metro beside us left the station. While it was moving, I couldn´t tell if our metro was moving or if it was staying still. I thought of all that point of relativity nonsense I learned in school for a little bit and then I shifted my attention to a different window where a cement pillar was stationed. When I saw the pillar, and that we weren´t moving away from it, I knew it was only the other metro that was moving and my mind finally stopped messing with me. Because I was mixing my thoughts from this experience and thinking about Antonio, the metaphor machine in my brain started churning and I thought about the relation that cement pillar had with the gospel. The standards and commandments given to us by the prophets and apostles act as a stronghold and a point of reference for us while we move quickly through the tunnels (haha, metro/subway tunnels) of life. Without the pillar as a point of reference I really didn´t know if I was moving and I felt unbalanced and uncertain. Because the scriptures and the modern revelation of our day are ever present, they act as an excellent guide for our lives.

Speaking of modern revelation, General Conference is coming up and I´m super excited. I think I´ll actually get to watch it in English too! Don´t forget to lay out my conference bingo card and tell me if I win!

Have a delicious week,

Elder Young

Monday, September 24, 2012

It rained in Brasilia!


Hello!

It hasn´t been too long since the last email, but I have a few cool things to talk about.

We visited Eduardo on Thursday and he shared an experience about repentance that I think got him to realize a little more the importance of faith. We also met his family. They´re are really nice and there is something different about them. Just like Eduardo they are all genuine in the way they act. I really hope they come to church soon because I know they´ll love it.

Maria (João´s mom) went to church on Sunday. She got to know the ward a little bit and she shared a lot of her beliefs and feelings during class.

Yesterday we got to know some more of the members (Lago Sul is a relatively big ward). We ate dinner with Kurt and his family of 5 kids, and with a guy named David who just moved into the ward. In Lago Sul you see a lot of people who stay here for a determined duration of time at the embassy. David and Kurt both work with the embassy and will only stay for a determined amount of time. David is from BYU and is about to graduate. He also worked at Geek Squad and Apple so it was fun to talk to him about techy things and our funny experiences at Geek Squad. Kurt also works in the IT field doing web development and programming. I´m amazed that I´m finding people like this that have a lot of good advice for things I love. It´s great to work with the members here.

Oh and  just so you don´t worry about my dying from the heat, it rained on Friday. It felt wonderful. When it started I just stood still and got soaked for 5 minutes.

Considering it´s only been a few days, I don´t have much more news. But everything is just swell!

Love,

Bryce

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brasilian Zoo [Pictures!]

Hello Family!

This week was the hottest week since I´ve been here. Oh my. BUT! It doesn´t really bother me. I just feel like I´m in Arizona a little bit. :D

Eduardo came to church again this Sunday and we get to meet with him tomorrow in the afternoon. I always look forward to talking to him. During sunday school he asked a lot of questions and related that he understood the subject of vicarious temple work a lot better. He met some members and had good conversations with them too. 

We recently found a new sub-area in Lago Sul that looks very promising. We found people to teach just by walking around. It´s not gated and closed off like all the other places in our area so it´s easier to talk to people. 

We haven´t been able to teach Maria Rita recently. I really hope we can soon because her and Felipe are so humble and I can see directly how the gospel can affect them positively. Thank you for your prayers.

During the afternoon we have been visiting members and less active members to get to know them. We visited the previous American gospel doctrine teacher in our ward. His name is Reuel. He´s 68 or so, and served his mission in Brazil so he knows Portuguese. We met to discuss good ways to go about teaching Eduardo. Reuel is so cool. He gave us excellent advice and has a wealth of knowledge about the scriptures. He shared an experience about receiving personal revelation through pondering and praying about the scriptures that I learned a lot from. 

João is still as great as ever. He´s helping us teach new investigators and helping us teach his mom. His mom still hasn´t come to church and is shying away a bit from making a change but we´re hopeful and João is helpful in our lessons with her.

We visited with a less-active member, Raul on Saturday. A few weeks ago he attended a family night in the house of a member. That night we had talked about the iron rod in Lehi´s dream. When we met with him this time he brought up the story without us prompting it so I can tell he has thought about its importance. I asked him to read Mosiah 2 so we could talk about it the next time. I think he has realized what role the Book of Mormon used to have in his life and how he has missed it. 

Until next week!
Love, 

- Bryce
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Elder Young goes to the Brasilia Zoo with his District
Zoo Entrance
"Hi 911?  An amazon tiger is trying to scare me."

Brasilian Giraffes

Portugese Speaking Zebra
Amazon Elephant

Monday, September 10, 2012

Greetings Once Again!


Greetings once again!

First, thank you for your prayers, I have never felt the reality of unseen help as I have this past month. I´m so happy everyone is well.

We have in our apartment slash house a big stack of Ensign and Liahona magazines. It´s great to read the talks given at general conference and see the principles within directly applied to my experiences. I especially love the talk Concern for the One by Joseph B. Wirthlin that I found this week. Reading the Ensign, I´ve found, is a great way to practice and learn Portuguese while reading something very applicable. After reading many talks this week and being in the homes of many families, I want to echo Elder Robert D Hales in saying **The more I live, the more I recognize that the teaching moments in my youth, especially those provided by my parents, have shaped my life and made me who I am**. Thank you Mom and Dad for always making sure we eat dinner as a family and always taking the time to highlight gospel principles daily. The more I reflect on my experiences in my youth and experiences I have with people here, the more and more I appreciate the foundation I have been blessed with.

This week we taught Eduardo, Maria Rita, and Raimundo. I don´t know if I mentioned Raimundo yet. Ahhh, he´s so cool. He works at the entrance to the condominium of a member. He loves to talk to us (for work, he sits in the same room alone for almost the whole day) and he loves to ask questions and listen to us talk. He is getting married soon so lately we´ve shared what we believe about families and about eternal marriage. He says he appreciates our visits a lot and is always open to talk.

Eduardo continues to amaze me. Since Sunday he has been staying up late (sometimes till 3AM) reading the Book of Mormon and searching for answers to his questions. He has a huge desire to learn and really likes the Book of Mormon. He has a lot of questions. He is very logically oriented in his way of thinking and knows the scriptures very well. Our conversations with him are always fantastic. I learn so much from his perspective. He is out of town this week but he says he´s going to continue acquainting himself with the church and attending church to learn as much as he can and to evaluate more. He doesn´t just talk, he does. And I am so excited to continue visiting him.

Maria is so great. I love her family (Mom of João ). We watched The Testaments with her (about Christ´s visit in America) and she really liked it. When we have the chance to teach her (sometimes it´s hard to find a time to meet with her) it always goes well. We also gave a Book of Mormon to João´s brother and explained what it was. Experiences at their house are always great.

Until next week!

Love,

Bryce

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bambuhbam

Hello. I´m a bit startled at the fact that I´m in this computer cafe place again already. Of course the weeks will get faster and faster as they go, but I didn´t anticipate this speed. I It´s hard to re-cap such a fast moving week. I´ll just start re-capping wherever my mind chooses.

Living in a house with other missionaries is great. It´s relaxing and nice to have people to talk to. Today was the first transfer since I´ve been here. My companion and I are staying in our area. We got a new missionary to live in our house now that got transferred to São Sebastião. I got to see a lot of the people that were in my district in the MTC today. It´s crazy how much you grow to miss your friends at the MTC after only 1.4 months. 

This week we visited Maria Rita and Felipe again. We also met her husband. They´re such a warm family. We talked more about the Book of Mormon and explained how we can receive personal revelation for our own lives. Felipe is such a cool kid. He read all the parts we asked him to read out of the Book of Mormon and he is always willing to pray. I know Maria feels the spirit that Felipe brings when he prays and I hope she can realize how happy she can be by reading the counsel of the Christ in the Book of Mormon. I´m always reminded of the attention Christ pays to children when I observe the families I get to visit. The more I open my eyes, the clearer the genuinity of children becomes. It´s wonderful, the synergy that this missionary work creates. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read that when the spirit is present in our interactions, the teacher and learner are edified. How true that is. Sure, being a missionary involves teaching, but the teaching is not done by the missionary. The missionary is only the instrument for relating the message of the gospel. I feel much more like a learner than a teacher. I continually learn from the people around me. I know that will be the theme of this time I have in Brazil.

We visited Eduardo this week. It was so refreshing to meet with him. He lives with such a bright curiosity. He has studied the beliefs and doctrines of many churches and he is self-driven to learn. I love finding people like him because people that want to learn more (Eduardo) naturally gravitate toward founts of knowledge like the scriptures. We spent a good amount of time just discussing the nature of God and of the scriptures. He goes to church by his own volition and wants to know that what we say is true is true. He wonders how people can just say (quotation marks) I know that this church is true (quotation marks). I like that he has this question because it enlightens the difference in mindset between members of the church and investigators of the church. How strange it must be for someone that is just becoming acquainted with the church to hear over and over that the members (quotation) know (quotation) something is true but struggle to find an explanation for how they know. It´s important that we, as members, explain how we gained a testimony, and why we know what we know is true. The wonderful thing about the communication of the Holy Spirit is that the feelings it brings--like love, peace, joy, long-suffering, kindness, pure intelligence-- are as undeniably real as something we can touch physically. Upon acting in faith, we can come to know without a doubt that something is true. Alma talks a lot about how we can develop this faith in Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon. 

I hope life is great at home!

Love,
Bryce

Monday, August 27, 2012

Moved to Sao Sebatiao


Hello fam!

I have to be kind of quick, I don´t have a lot of time today. This week 
has been very busy. We ended up moving to Sao Sebatiao. I´m now living 
with 5 elders in a big living space. It´s tons bigger than our former 
apartment and it´s fun living with other elders. It´s also a big help 
with learning the language. They´re all Brazilian, so all I have to do 
is listen to learn. We spent the last 3-4 days moving the other elders´ 
stuff and our stuff into our new house. (they moved as well). This week 
we didn´t have a lot of time to teach because of all the logistical 
stuff we had to finish, BUT! I did get to spend some time teaching in a 
different area with another missionary, Elder Dos Santos. I met him and 
roomed with him in the MTC, so it was a lot of fun teaching with him 
(he´s also living with us now). We taught 7 lessons there in the time 
it would take us to teach 2 in Lago Sul. (because of the distance 
between condominiums). I learned a lot just in that small amount of 
time. I´m continually amazed at the receptivity these people have.

Today our district went to the chapel/institute building and ate food 
and played sports for P-day. It was nice to have a chance to play 
basketball and fooseball. I miss those things, haha.

Things are just as great as ever. I still learn tons from every person 
I meet and all the people we get to teach. I´m hoping we will be able 
to teach Maria again.

Ah! One thing that happened Sunday! A guy named Eduardo just showed up 
at church yesterday. We had never contacted him and he hasn´t ever been 
to our church, but he said he passed by the day before, saw the 
visitors´ welcome sign, and felt that he should go there for church the 
next day. E. Parada and I were so surprised because it´s already 
difficult to get people to church, and Eduardo just showed up. He´s 
married and has two kids, 10, and 14 yrs old. We have plans to teach 
him this week and I´m excited to get to know him.

Oh and I´ve decided, to help my Portuguese develop, to set a goal of 2 
jokes in Portuguese per day. So far I´ve done pretty well. To count it 
as a joke, at least 2 Brazilians have to laugh and I have to be able to 
sense that they don´t feel obligated to laugh. Wish me luck! (and no, 
I´m not dreaming in Portuguese yet, but I don´t think I have time for 
dreams anyway. My sleep feels like 2 minutes every night)

Love!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Oi from Lago Sul !


Hey guys! I´m sure everyone is super busy at home because of school starting. It´s so weird not to be going back to school in August.
 
    We´re getting more and more used to our area, Lago Sul. It´s definitely different than all the other Brasilia areas. This week E. Parada and I were able to bring two people, Juvialdo and his wife Sandra to church with us. It makes you so happy to have people come to church with you after looking for people to teach for a whole week. After church we were able to visit with Maralene, who we met near the bus stop. She is such a happy person. I really like how open the Brazilian families are that we visit. Having two visitors over to your house you´ve never seen and inviting them to eat with you is no strange thing in her house, haha. We were able to discuss the restoration with her and she is very interested. Also, João´s mom, Maria, (the one who loves to make sure I have eaten) is very open about her beliefs and interested in ours. This week we talked to her for awhile about the concept of religion, what Christ established during his ministry on the earth, and the founding principles of His gospel. I love hearing other people´s beliefs here. It´s a great example to me--the way that the people we´ve encountered are living their lives. Speaking of such, João never ceases to teach me new things by his vision of life. His imagination is unlimited in the potential of the gospel. The more I´m able to actually converse in Portuguese, the more I can discuss things with him and learn from him. Because he has a fresh perspective on the church (being a recent-convert) he is an instrument in re-igniting the enthusiasm of the people around him about the gospel. There´s so much to learn, and there´s so much we can do to better ourselves and the world--and he´s grasped that. Sometimes my grip on my zeal for what I know is true is too loose, and he helps me tighten that grip. He and his Mom are very warm, affable people. Their natural disposition to love gives them an inherent ability to share ideas in a way that sparks interest and makes people feel good. These are things I´ve learned just from watching the people we come in contact with.  
    Alma 32:23 says that little children have words given unto them which confound the wise and the learned. I´ve always appreciated this scripture, because I have observed its truth in my family. The same principle applies to people who are new to things that are old to you. Over time, after you encounter something new and wonderful, you inevitable lose a sense of its novelty. People who still have a sense of that novelty can shed light on that which you have forgotten. I´ve realized more and more that God blesses me through the lives of others.
 
Something you might find interesting/fun/cool/whateverandstuff is that this week I got to talk with Hudson, the guy who studied computer science. In addition to an awesome collection of old books and currency, he has/had tons of computers in his basement. E. Parada and I helped him move everything out. I was privileged to see all his old computers. He had about 30. One was a Commadore 128. 512K memory. So awesome. Remember when Bill Gates was convinced the world wouldn´t need more than a few MBs of memory? We had to test some of the computers before we took them out so I replaced some RAM and stuff. It made me feel at home, haha.
 
The relief society gave us a ton of candy! I´ll attach a picture. I´m super excited to eat it.
 
Don´t be too busy starting school! Have some fun! Love you guys!
 
- Bryce