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!

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


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!
Elder Bryce Young

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Working in Sao Sebastiao


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!

- Elder Bryce Young

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bryce Busy in Brazil


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.


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). 

Elder Bryce Young