Monday, January 28, 2013

The Coolest Story of the Week

I'll start by relating the coolest story of the week to those of you who like to eat your desert first. Early last week while it was raining like a king, (10 kudos for who got the pun) E. Queiroz and I were walking neither fast nor slow but with fervent purpose late at night (it's cooler), trying to get out of the angry rain. This place is very indecisive with how it weathers. While we were briskly walking we merged paths with a guy walking home. In the most unreasonable of times, E. Queiroz turned to him and started a conversation which led to him giving us his address for us to pass by the next week. We didn't think much of it until last Wednesday, when we searched for his house again. He had given us the wrong address, so we ended up at a house we had never seen before. Being a little put aside because we had faith that he was telling the truth about his address, we decidedly knocked on the door in front of us to see what we could make out of the situation. It took awhile for someone to come to the door so we stood waiting. While we were standing there on the front porch, a girl came behind us and said "hey, can I ask you guys a question? Are you from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?" She asked where the church was in Aguas Lindas, explaining she had just arrived. She said she is a member too and wants to go to church. We were happy to be able to help someone looking for the church. She was very happy, and appeared so excited it kinda weirded me out. But I understood why when she told us how she found us. She moved to Aguas Lindas to find her biological mom. She had been raised in a family of members elsewhere but now that she was old enough, they supported her in finding her real mom. Her situation upon getting here was difficult. Her mom wasn't very excited upon seeing her and her family that she hoped to accept her with open arms and with smiles on their faces didn't like the idea of her meeting them again. It was very sad to hear. It was easy to see that for a 14 year old, she had lived through a lot. She told us that the week before she prayed every day that God would help her in this situation, and that she could experience some of the joy she had living with her other family in the gospel. She barely ever left the house, feeling despondent and lonely. But the day in which she talked to us she said that 15 minutes before she felt a very strong feeling that she should come out on the street. She didn't know why, but followed the feeling. She looked down the street and saw us standing outside of the house we found ourselves at, after searching for the guy that gave us the wrong address. Soon after, we explained the odd circumstances by which we ended up on her street. We both were amazed and very grateful for how the spirit can work in the lives of those who are exercising faith.
     I subsequently thought a lot about that occurrence and what implications it had for us as missionaries as for her as someone looking to find joy and peace through the gospel. I renewed my desire to always be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. As long as we're working, we'll be guided even when we think we're not being guided. If I had stayed home because I had a little headache or felt tired, I wouldn't have been an answer to her prayer. I understand better now what Thomas S. Monson said once. He said that one of the greatest joys is feeling a prompting, acting on it, and in doing so being the answer to someone's prayer. The girl's name is Sámia. I know that Sámia was an answer to our prayer that we could find the people the Lord wanted us to find that day, and that we were an answer to her prayer.

I only have time for this story today, but I feel like stories such as these are of much more avail to people who read my updates than small snippets of how things are going. I have been reading Grandpa Royce's mission journal that Christy put together and sent me. I love reading his journal and have learned that experiences such as these are the ones that influence and touch me the most. I want to try to focus my efforts on relating stories such as these in hope that it can positively impact the lives of those who read them.

Elder Bryce Young

Monday, January 21, 2013

Scripture Power

It's been quite a rainy week. I don't ever want to take the bus again because walking is so nice in this weather.

Things are still going slow with our investigators, and a few of them don't have interest or don't fulfill their commitments so unfortunately we will stop teaching some of them this week. It's always a sad thing to have to tell someone that we aren't going to teach them anymore. But unfortunately, if they don't want do the things we've invited them to do, then we need to focus our time on people that have a strong desire to learn and apply what they learn. Times in which you have to stop teaching some of your investigators can be desanimating if you let it, but it's also an exciting time of finding new people to teach. For example, this week we were looking for less active members and found Glaucia, who lives in a member's old house. She has seen missionaries and talked briefly with them but never has heard the lessons. We also started teaching the friend of two members and the past two visits have gone well. It's such much more efficient to work with members' friends than to try to find people out of nowhere to teach.

Focusing on teaching how the Savior teaches is acts as perfect fuel for days and days of teaching. Because the mission schedule is so patterned, it's easy to fall into doing everything the same way every time. (teaching the same message the same way every time, for example). But if used wisely, the mission can act as a perfect testing ground for teaching techniques. So studying how the savior taught and thinking about it while you walk prepares you to teach using what you learned. And applying what you thought while you walked in your lessons gives you feedback on how to improve. Then you can use the feedback in your study the succeeding day, and continue the cycle. I think that focusing on teaching in His way acts as fuel because when you improve how you do things day by day, you don't get caught up in monotony and you feel more energized, excited to use what you learn while studying and thinking. This week I tried to learn more about Christ's parables and analogies. As I did that I began to be more cognizant of analogies in the general conference talks. It was really cool to see how studying the Savior's method of teaching opened my eyes more to how to teach efficiently. I began to think more about how I could incorporate analogies into lessons that we teach daily and was able to relate basic principles to surroundings and people's interests. I'm grateful that the mission acts as a catalyst for any righteous desire you have. Heavenly Father is always willing to help us accomplish even the little things we desire to accomplish.

A few days ago we got to teach the husband of a member who isn't a member yet. Lately we have been reading chapters from the Book of Mormon and encouraging a habit of daily scripture study. I was so thankful for our "family scripture study" at home in the moment of teaching them how to study the scriptures together. Any time I'm in a group of people and we're all reading the scriptures and talking about them, I remember all those nights before bed at the table when we overloaded on ice cream and then read a chapter in the Book of Mormon (usually with those little action figures and random objects that Dad used to demonstrate the war tactics used in Alma, haha). When we were discussing how to have a family scripture study with Ridaiel and his wife, I was able to share experiences I had with my family and recall things that I learned those nights we studied the scriptures. I am so grateful for the foundation of scripture study we have in our home and am thankful I could use it to help someone else find the power in reading and applying the scriptures. I am also grateful for what I learned that week about how the Savior teaches because the Holy Ghost brought those things to remembrance and enlightened the minds of those who were there.

I'm gotta hit the road now. Enjoy the day off of school!

Elder Young

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Perfect weather!!!

Just to start off here, I'll have you all know that right now the weather is perfect. I'm sitting here in this nice little LAN House, as they call it, basking in a cool breeze of rainy/feels like an ice-dragon breathed on me/delectable air. The past 4 or 5 days have been rainy and cool. I love this weather. It makes walking so much more pleasant. I heard that it's supposed to stay like this for a little bit longer, and oh, is that is a tiding of great great joy.

I'm sure news has got around the figurative block that lately a few people have been sick in our apartment. But now, all is well (that ends well) and we're all in an operable state.
E. Macias moved in the place of E. Golzio. E. Macias is from Bolivia and is fun to talk to. Speaking of, it's funny how often I hear the phrase "ah mas ele é gente boa". (Ah, but he's a good person). Every says everyone is a good person. I often hear someone say all this crazy bad stuff someone did, but then end saying, ah, mas ele é gente boa. That is just one of the phrases I laugh at here.

Because I had a lot of time to study last week, I'll write a few things I found while reading Jesus, The Christ by Talmage.

The notes are always the best part. The author noted (pun intended) that the capacity to be grateful is a blessing. If you think about that too much it will make your head hurt, but it has some colorful insight. Think of how you would feel, not even being able to feel grateful for things. Think about if you didn't even have the choice. The world would be pretty dim in your view, would it not? Gratitude acts as a pedestal for humility--which in itself opens the door to acquiring righteous character and more Christ like attributes--and for a positive outlook on your circumstance. If we think as things like gratitude or faith as gifts (which they really are), then we will be more willing to seek those gifts and be more grateful for them. And when we understand that the good feelings we receive are a result of the choices we make, and of our obedience to the commandments, we're also more likely to continue seeking the gifts that God readily gives us.

Something else I found in the note of some chapter said "We should realize that even complete knowledge may not preclude the propriety of making inquiries". This refers to the way that Christ taught. He is omniscient but he still asked questions that sought knowledge. Asking questions is not always for the asker; oftentimes the most valuable questions are the ones that benefit the person being asked. Asking inspired questions plays a big role in teaching someone the gospel. This part of the book made me think over again the significance of good questions and why we ask questions, even when we know the answers.

I do have a little follow up news about Isabel's family. We started to teach her son, Edason. We committed him to start reading the Book of Mormon. His cousin was there also and was interested in the plan of salvation.

Edson just has to get married. We're waiting on that and then we'll schedule his baptism. We had planned a family home evening with his family but it got canceled. I'm hoping to have one this week.

Because there are so many less actives and non-actives in the area. We're trying to find them but are having a little difficulty. Many addresses are wrong and we always seem to pass by when the people aren't home. But we do have a few things scheduled this week to work with less active families. There resides a great joy in encouraging people to come back to church and seeing them at church. One guy about my age came this last Sunday. I had talked to him the previous Sunday and we got along well because of our shared interest in programming.

Overall, things haven't changed a ton, but life rolls on. There's always a bump in the road somewhere right?

I hope January acts its best this year. Have a wonderful week, ya'll.

Elder Young

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy 20th Birthday to Elder Young!!!!

Today is a transfer day so time is running away from me. But I do want to share a poem I found in one of Thomas Monson's talks this week.

I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody's need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind.

(Bryce didn't write much this week because of transfers, but I have included a few lines from some of the individual letters he sent to family members)
To his bros:
Thanks for the birthday comments! I feel so good about myself now. I feel like Mario when you press L in super smash bros and he grows to almost 3 times his size. That's what my ego just did.
I got all the pictures--thanks so much, they're great, and I should get the package this week or next, we'll see. But no worries.

To dad (thinking mom might not see!!!!)
Thank you again for the birthday wish. I'm glad I have the privilege of spending my birthday giving what I can of the day back to the one who gave it to me.

I don't want Mom to freak out, but I only got to work 1 day since Tuesday because E. Reese and I got sick. We had some kind of stomach virus or something. We're thinking it was from some bad fruit we ate or something. It wasn't bad,
I'm pretty sure every american missionary that goes to Brazil goes through a sickness like this at least once on their mission. So I didn't get to teach any investigators or visit Isabel's family like I wanted to. I had a lot of time to read and study and talk to E. Reese though. And I benefited from those things. 

I'm completely better now, though. So don't let anyone worry.

Until next week!
Elder Young

Monday, January 7, 2013

                              Our Family skyping with Bryce on Christmas Day
A Christmas lunch at the church
A bad hail storm in Aguas Lindas
                               Some of Elder Young's Christmas presents