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)


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

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Brasilian Architecture

The Itamarati Palace or Brasilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Brasília-DF Palácio do Planalto

Bryce's Apartment and Desk
(guess which desk is Bryce's)

Monday, August 13, 2012


Finally it´s Monday. I don´t think anyone but missionaries say that. Haha. I´m glad I have a little time to rest today. And it´s always great to hear news and be able to talk/type in English. Time is going by a little faster now, because a lot of things are becoming routine.

 I´m finding new things I love about being here every week.
    This week I felt a little more at home during dinner because one of the members gave us a bunch of little frozen pizzas. I have always lived on frozen microwavable pizza, so I was very happy to eat them. I also now know that dessert doesn´t mean dessert--it means fruit. And all the new food I´ve tried and all the things I said I would eat one day I am eating now, haha. And (ahem) Mom, I do like it. Maybe my taste buds have changed but I like all the fruit people throw at me and all the meat I´m given. ( I don´t ask what it is ) It´s great.
    Talking to people on the street has become less unnerving and more exciting. Of course it´s weird and surprising to be approached by two guys dressed all nicely wanting to talk about Jesus Christ. But the people we meet who have a real interest and are looking for something more in their life really respond well. Everything difficult we do is made worth it by meeting these people. I had a cool and funny experience this week concerning this type of experience. Elder Parada and I were walking on the sidewalk and a married couple were walking the opposite direction--and walking pretty fast. I started to talk to the husband and he didn´t stop, he just kept walking. So I thought, okay, I´ll walk with you! He was totally fine with it. It´ was actually pretty funny. So we walked swiftly with him and his wife the other way down the sidewalk for about 10 minutes. He was very interested in what we believed and had a lot of questions. So we discussed what the Book of Mormon is, our purpose, and the importance of a living prophet while we walked (keep in mind we were practically speed walking) down the sidewalk. We scheduled a visit to talk more with him and his wife but haven´t been able to find him at home yet.
We probably will move apartments this week because the owner drove up the price to more than double what we pay already. We are having trouble finding a place in our area that is affordable with the funds the mission of Brasilia has. We either will move to a big house that actually costs less than our apartment, or move to an area close by Lago Sul (Sao Sebastiao) and commute each day. We´ll find out this week.

While we were looking for apartments, we ran into a Mom and her son in the park. Elis and Lucas. Elis was very nice and was curious about what we do. Because we had time, and she was interested, we were able to teach her about the Restoration of the Gospel, about Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon. She committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. It was cool to be able to actually input constructive teaching into the lesson in Portuguese and I´m excited to visit with her and her family again soon.
Those are a few of the great experiences I´ve had since last week. I´m continually able to learn so much from the people around me, the people I encounter. It´s so cool to see João, a recent convert, immerse himself in learning more and more about the gospel. There´s always more to learn, and I love that. His diligence and charisma for what he knows is true is inspiring.
I hope all is well at home! I hear snippets of things about the Olympics here. It´s fun to hear people talk about the United States.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Living In Lago Sul

Another week has certainly gone by. It´s hard to think of everything we did. It´s definitely a day by day experience. I haven´t thought about the stream of events in the measurement of a week yet. We are still getting to know the ward, visiting less actives, trying to find new investigators, and visiting recent converts. I learn something new everyday. As everyone knows, goal setting is crucial everyday. I´ve learned a lot about planning and about doing all I can and then asking for the Lord´s help. When I set goals and accomplish them, I look back and see how I was blessed in my effort. For example yesterday I had a goal of talking to 15 people in the spare time we had. I had 2 more but it was time to go back home. On the way home I spotted 2 people and had a mental battle for a second. It turns out they live in the same bulding we do. One of them, Lucia, has had the missionaries in the home of her parents before. She knew about what we do and said she enjoyed the missionaries´ company in her home as a kid. When we asked if she´d like to learn more she said emphatically -- com certeza! -- (with certainty!). (I like the small emphatic phrases people use here). If I had neglected the opportunity to fulfill my goal, Lucia wouldn´t have had the opportunity to accept our invitation to learn more about the gospel. These experiences I relate may seem like coincidences on the surface. But I can tell you, when you pray for these kinds of experiences, and you feel prompted to act in opportunities placed before you, you won´t have a doubt that these things happen for a reason. I´m glad to have had the opportunity to learn in this circumstance. Even in the midst of my own hesitancy to act, I was given an opportunity to learn and grow and influence someone else´s life.
When you are in the service of your neighbor you are in the service of your God. That experience and one more manifested this truth to me very clearly--
This week we did two service projects. One was for a member who is renovating the land around their house. The other required the work of 6 missionaries (they came from areas outside ours) to do. I don´t know what we did is called (I only heard it in Portuguese) but we mixed materials to make cement, shoveled it into buckets, passed it up to the top of the house, and layered the cement on the roof. I don´t know anything about construction and I won´t pretend to, ha ha. I can tell you though, that it was hard work. I bet Dad is laughing right now because he has probably done something similar.  It was tough. I couldn´t count how many buckets we filled and lifted up to the top of the house. Each bucket was about 35lbs. I was mainly in charge of lifting them up from the ground to a platform above me because I´m tall. Anyway, that description was not necessary. What I want to say is I learned something through this project. My back has always hurt a lot ever since marching band (carrying tenor drums). After the first service project I thought I wouldn´t be able to get out of bed. When I learned we would be doing this for 4 hours, I knew for sure my back wouldnt hold up. As I started doing this, I thought I´d have to stop after 5 buckets. It hurt. I decided I was going to do it until I absolutely had to stop. Before I knew it I had already lifted 10+ buckets and didn´t feel any pain. I kept going and going and still didn´t feel anything. I continued lifting these buckets full of cement for more than an hour. It was hard, and I was sore, but my back didn´t hurt. Never have I done anything like this (something so straining on the back) and been able to muscle through it. Somehow I continued until the work was done. I knew something was different. Something didn´t feel the same. I don´t know how it didn´t hurt and Im still amazed. When we are in the service of our neighbor we´re in the service of our God. When we act as an instrument for serving others, the Lord will help us. I can´t deny that I was being helped physically that day.

Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting in the ward. It is very nice and relaxing to sit in sacrament meeting after a week of business. Many of the youth went on their first temple trip on Saturday. Many of them shared their testimony of temple work (particularly baptisms as a proxy for those who have died) and the reality of the importance of the temple. They have to travel a long way (to Recife) to go to the temple. It´s often cheaper to fly there. It was great to hear the testimonies of the youth and it reminded me of our temple trips. After church Elder Parada and I had a delicious meal at a member´s house. I ate tons of ice cream and drank a lot of soda (he had root bear and cream soda -- not common in brazil). I wouldn´t have, but they encouraged it, haha. I´m loving Brazil. The people really are really nice here. I´m doing well.
I love you all!
- Bryce

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Photo's From Brasilia

Now that Bryce is settled into his first area, Brasilia (actually Loga Sol), he sent a few photos from his camera on his preparation day.

Sister Degn, Elder Young, and Presidente Degn of the Mission Training Center

Elder Young and Elder Rocha 
(who also played music and accompaniment with Bryce in missionary meetings)

Elder Young and Elder Cervantes

Elder Young and one of his MTC Instructors

Elder Moody with Elder Young