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 27, 2012
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Monday, August 6, 2012
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!
Saturday, August 4, 2012
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