Thursday, February 28, 2013

Elder Young gets a new companion

Hey family!

I don't think I have told you about Beth, so I will tell you now. We were introduced to Beth by an inactive member that is wanting to come back to activity. Beth suffered severe burns in an accident and most of her body is scarred from it. It happened about 2 months ago and she's still recovering. She is about 40 years old and has two kids. She isn't married but lives with someone who is going to move soon. (Practically no one is actually married here; most people just live together) Her situation was life threatening in the hospital but she prayed and read the Bible fervorously, promising God that if she was given another chance to live that she would find a church and turn her life around. 1 month after she got back from the hospital, we met her and she accepted very readily to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. She has already received an answer that it is true and wants to be baptized. We are teaching her and preparing her to be baptized. Her countenance has already changed and she is happier. She can't immerge herself completely in water because of the burns, but in about a month or two  she will be able to. I don't think I'll be here to see her baptism, but seeing someone change like this is very neat. 

E. G. Santos and I get a long very well. I enjoy the creative nature of missionary work. If you ever get stuck in a routine and get bored of doing the same things everyday, you just have to be creative and you start to have success. 

Tell Brandyn Happy Birthday again. I hope it's a happy week, rather than just one day. 
Thanks for sending all the news every week. I hope all is well!

Elder Young

Monday, February 18, 2013


I have a very short amount of time again today because transfers were today. E. Queiroz, my companion, left. E. Reese also left. It was sad to find out that he was leaving because we enjoyed so much living in the same house and having a days every now and then to work with each other. But things have to change every once and awhile. (cue the song "you can't always get what you want")

My new companion is Elder Santos. He has been on the mission for 1yr and 3 months. Just from talking to him today, we're both on the same page of things we would like to change here and in the way we like to work. I'll let you know how this week goes.

Until next week!
Elder Young

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bryce's Medley of Hymns

Warmest greetings, dear family,

From this past Friday until this Wednesday, people here celebrate Carnaval, which is basically an excuse to go crazy and do whatever you want. Needless to say, it can get dangerous sometimes. Thus, missionaries are advised to be home earlier than normal. Since Friday we've spent more time at home than normal. It can drive you crazy if you don't find something to do. Most of my time has been spent studying lately. BUT IT'S AWESOME! I was looking at hymns in my nifty difty (notebook) little hymn book that you guys sent me and happened upon a neat sequence of hymns that, together, create a cool medley of lyrics.

Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
Dear are the "ninety and nine"; 
Dear are the sheep that have wandered 
Out in the desert to pine. 
Hark! he is earnestly calling, 
Tenderly pleading today: 
"Will you not seek for my lost ones, 
Off from my shelter astray?"

Make us thy true under-shepherds;
Give us a love that is deep.
Send us out into the desert,
Seeking thy wandering sheep.
(221 - Dear to the heart of the shepherd.)

O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide,
Tho dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo the message sweet:
I'll say what you want me to say.

I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I'll say what you want me to say, dear Lord;
I'll be what you want me to be.
(270 - I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go)

Does the journey seem long,
The path rugged and steep?
Are there briars and thorns on the way?
Do sharp stones cut your feet
As you struggle to rise
To the heights thru the heat of the day?

Let your heart be not faint
Now the journey's begun;
There is One who still beckons to you.
So look upward in joy
And take hold of his hand;
He will lead you to heights that are new
(127 Does the Journey Seem Long?)

I like thinking about all these three hymns in the same context because together, they display the journey of a follower of Christ seeking to bring lost ones "back to the fold". The first part invites us to seek for the lost ones. What follows is a petition for strength, courage, guidance, and a conviction of the seeker. The last song "Does the Journey Seem Long?" conveys how the journey of the seeker of the lost ones really is. Then the last verse of that song offers comfort and hope. I like that the hope and comfort is at the end, following two verses (not mentioned here) that describe the roughness of the way. We have to act first and have to experience hard things to be able to appreciate the joy in the end. When seeking someone who is lost, you lose yourself in service and don't realize the length of the journey you've been on until it's ending (while a even newer journey is beginning). The very last verse is cool because it applies to the lost sheep being helped by the seeker of lost sheep, but it also applies to the seeker being lifted up by the Lord.

I've been thinking lately on what it means to treasure up in your minds continually the words of life (DC 84:85) If you treasure something, you know exactly what it is and where it is and you take care of it. I like to think that treasuring up the words of life, or the scriptures, involves thinking about them often, memorizing them, and applying them. It's easy to do this with hymns because they have melody, so that's where all this hymn craziness comes from. It was cool to see how as I started to keep more scriptures in my mind, I was able to use them effectively in my teaching. One person we were teaching had an excuse to go to church the first time we invited her, but within 30 minutes she had a strong conviction to go. It was because of one scripture. Romans 10:17. She was wanting to develop more faith and realized that she needed to hear the word of God to do so, so she became determined to go to church. I believe that whatever righteous effort we engage ourselves in will be builded upon by the opportunities God will place before us. If I am determined to memorize scriptures to teach better, He will place perfect opportunities to use those scriptures before me. I just have to prepare and set goals and then present my plan to Him in prayer. I like what Grandpa Royce said in his journal. "Prepare your prayers, and they will prepare you."

Mom, I hope you had a good birthday. I hope you are having time every now and then to rest from all you do for everyone around you. I never knew being away just for 9 months would teach me all it has about how amazing you are as a mom. All the dishes and clothes you washed for me without saying anything, all the grand feasts of food you brought up to my room while I was studying, all the notes you layed out for me, the encouragement you gave me, and all the trust, I hope I can pay back in portion by being the person you want me to be and by teaching the gospel you taught us at home to people who don't yet know it. I love you!

I'm doing great, so don't worry about me. Have a great week everyone!
Here are some other parts of letters he sent to his family members I thought I would include

Recently I studied the account of Nephi's experience with the spirit in 1 Nephi 11 and the succeeding chapters with a deeper intent to study. It reveals a lot about how the spirit teaches. I really enjoy analyzing how the spirit teaches because it's the best way to teach. There's an identifiable pattern in how he teaches. He shows, he doesn't tell. He invites, he doesn't obligate. And he explains and doesn't over speak. He is simply the guide. And his role isn't to catch your attention, it is to teach you when you choose to pay attention.

Our zone leaders challenged us to memorize 15 scriptures over 5 days. There is a holiday here that goes on for about 5 days and we are encouraged to go home at 6pm, so we have a lot of extra time. I decided to do it and I'm really enjoying the added perspective/understanding you receive upon memorizing scriptures. I like to think of memorizing scriptures as a way to treasure up the words of life. If you treasure something up, you know exactly what it is and where it is. Treasuring the scriptures involves knowing them in and out, in my mind. There's always a temptation to memorize scriptures in English instead of Portuguese, because I'll use the English ones the rest of my life. But I know that if I forget about my own wants and memorize scriptures in Portuguese so I can help investigators, the Lord will bless me with more capacity to memorize whatever I want to after my mission. Little covenants like this that you make with the Lord are really neat. Because I have no doubt that if I focus on memorizing in Portuguese, even though sometimes English is more appealing, God will make it easier to memorize the same scriptures in English and my ability to memorize will improve. I'll be blessed more than I realize.

Elder Young

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Testifying in Brazil

So I went to the dentist on Wednesday. Dr. Goes eliminated all the pain and he will finish the procedure this Wednesday. Nothing that Dr. Goes did was painful because he numbed my mouth. We had a nice one sided conversation. You know how it goes. He's working on your teeth and asking you every question he can come up with while you answer repeatedly with the response that somehow every dentist can understand, "Arhhgguhss." It's even better when he uses prestigious medical terms in Portuguese. Oh, the dentist. 

This week I had a neat experience. Surprise! haha. Every week we all have them, really, it just hard to recognize them at times.
3 weeks ago, E. Quieroz and I were looking at a list of less active members whom we could visit as we walked around Jardim Barragem 4 (the names of these neighborhoods are very creatively misnamed). The bishop had asked us to find out of these people still lived in the address listed next to their name. We knocked on a door (clapped our hands in front of a big metal fence) to see if Rosimar lived there. Someone else answered the door. Rosimar had moved away but Glaucia, the girl who opened the door gave us Rosimar's number. She was friends with her and said she had seen missionaries like us at her house before. We asked if we could share a message with her about Jesus Christ. We started teaching her that week and she liked the Book of Mormon. She had a lot of questions about baptism and the need for the Book of Mormon in the beginning. She didn't understand why, if she were to join the church, she would need to be baptized again because she had already been baptized in her church. She also asked why we need the Book of Mormon when we already have the Bible. For each question she asked, thankfully, a scripture and explanation came to mind that answered her question clearly. Upon reading 2 Nephi 29 and 31, she received answers to her questions. We explained the need of priesthood authority to perform ordinances such as baptism and explained its origin, absence, and restoration. Each time we taught a lesson, she had questions which the Book of Mormon was able to answer for her. We continued to invite her to read and pray about the book. The week after we had these great lessons with her, she didn't answer her phone and her family gave conflicting stories about where she was when we passed by. For a week we couldn't get in contact with her. When we finally found her at home she told us that she was confused about a lot of things and her demeanor showed that she didn't want us to teach her anymore. We asked if we could pass by again to try to answer her questions and clear up confusion. She agreed. The next lesson we had was unexpected. She asked again why she would have to be baptized again if she had already been baptized. As a missionary you have to be sensitive in how you respond to questions like this--thankfully the spirit brought things to our remembrance to help us teach clearly and sensitively (John 14:26)  We kindly reminded her of the example Jesus Christ set when he was baptized and that he invites us to follow it. We opened the scriptures to support our explanation and emphasized that by knowing the Book of Mormon is true, she can gain a testimony of the things we say. We invited her again to pray to Heavenly Father to know what she should believe, but she didn't believe a prayer would help her. It was difficult to proceed because she presented the same doubts and questions she had presented when we started to teach her--one's she had said were answered by the Book of Mormon. She had invited her friend over and her friend started to ask questions about our beliefs. She told us why she doesn't believe in the Book of Mormon and accused us of many things. We calmly answered her questions and read scriptures from the Bible to support the reality and authority of prophets. It wasn't a heated argument like it may sound, but she wasn't very willing to listen and consider anything we said. Another person that was listening interposed to comment on how the Book of Mormon just substitutes the Bible and isn't true. We asked them if they had read it and they replied no. We explained our role as missionaries is to teach and testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that His gospel was restored by a living prophet--that we don't aim to convince, but rather to invite. I read 2 Nephi 33:10:

And now, my beloved brethren, and also aJew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words andbbelieve in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall cbelieve in Christ ye will believe in these dwords, for they are the ewords of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they fteach all men that they should do good.

After reading that verse I shared my testimony saying "Christ came to the Americas to teach his gospel and that a record of this occurrence is contained in this book. A reading of it and an application of the principles within will bring you closer to Christ" I could feel in that moment that they knew what I was saying was true, that the Book of Mormon is a testament of Jesus Christ. I invited them to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.  I am glad I was prepared to be able to share my testimony in such a way, and to feel the spirit testify to them that Elder Quieroz and I said was true. 

I hope that one day Glaucia and her friends will return to think about the Book of Mormon and that they can gain a testimony of it. Knowing that the Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth today and that His gospel has been restored brings so much happiness.

Elder Bryce Young

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pictures from Elder Young!!!

Elder Reese and Elder Queiroz(Bryce's Companion)

Bryce in the Hills of Brasillia
The horses right outside of Elder Young's apartment wanting to come in!