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.


Elder Bryce Young

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