Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rosa Joins the Church!

Good afternoon family,

I have 2 recent events to relate--they're both great.

First, we received two references from the mission office and visited them both right away. One is a girl named Railene who works with a member of the church. The other is Marlene, a lady who works cleaning all the chapels around Brasilia and Goias. She has many friends that are members of the church. 

I really enjoy trading companions for one day and working with other missionaries. Elder Dos Santos and I are in the same district and so we get to work together every now and then. We spent Tuesday visiting Railene and Marlene. We taught Marlene the message entitled "The Gospel of Jesus Christ." I learned so much about how the spirit works in a well set up teaching environment. I noticed that everything we learned in District Meeting that morning was put to practice in that lesson with Marlene and I could see the effectiveness in the teaching techniques we applied. I learned so much listening and watching Elder Dos Santos teach, and his discernment and patience allowed us to teach with one voice. I wish I could have written down everything that went through my head during the lesson. Marlene felt what we wanted her to feel and asked all the perfect questions we wanted to hear. The lesson was incredible.

Second, after many hindrances, everything finally worked out and Rosa got baptized Sunday afternoon! I wish I could relate her whole story in full, including our story with her, leading up to this point in time, in a way that you could all understand how it feels. Elder B. Gomes, who interviewed her a few weeks ago, said that Rosa is the most prepared person he's ever interviewed. 

On Monday she told us that she had no doubt she wanted to be baptized and wanted it to be Saturday night. We had planned to have the baptism on Saturday, but learned that there were stake meetings being held that night and that the chapel couldn't be used for the baptism. It looked like Sunday wouldn't work either, but we found time for everyone to come and the baptism was well planned and went very well. As Elder Lima and Rosa got in the water it started to sprinkle and the lights flickered lightly. Before the meeting ended, almost everyone bore their testimony and expressed their feelings to Rosa about baptism and about the gospel. I'm glad to see that she is making friends with the members and that the members are very willing to help her be integrated into the ward.  After everyone went home and Elder Lima and I emptied the baptismal font and cleaned up and left the church, I saw one of the coolest sun sets ever. It was a very low light of pink. I tried to take a picture of it but realized that my camera couldn't capture what I saw. I thought about how my experience is a good reminder to me that baptism isn't just something that we do and take a picture of to remember. The picture can't capture the feelings you felt. You have to record that memory by reliving it over and over as you continue to keep the covenants you make. As you keep the covenants you make at baptism, you keep that wonderful feeling with you. 

Thank you for your prayers. I enjoy attributing the wonderful things that happen daily--and the trials--to prayers that you saying at home.

Good luck on finals! Enjoy no more school!

Elder Young
Elder Young and Rosa at the Bus station
Elder Young at Rosa's baptism
Elder Young working hard !!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Blake from Elder Young!

I thought that after doing the same kind of work each day for almost a year it would be easier to remember everything I did during the week to tell you all on Monday. Great things happen everyday, and hard things happen everyday.

As it has now become custom for me just to write a good explanation of a few things instead of a bunch of little things, I'll first share a quote I found this week in one of Neal Maxwell's talks. 

"The cavity that suffering carves into our soul will one day be the receptical of joy...How infinite Christ's capacity for joy is"

All that we suffer is for our own good. However and somehow, many times even after experiencing much suffering and realizing how true the above quote is, we forget this. It is helpful to hear this reminder every once in a while.

Also, this week I noticed, upon looking back, teaching techniques that Dad and Mom used that I am learning to use as I teach investigators. I can tell that Dad learned valuable things on his mission that he used to bless our family as a parent. To give a few examples, I remember that after my baseball games in particular, that Dad would often ask me 3 things I did well and 2 things that I could improve on. I remember some days that I really wasn't in the mood to answer, and after much thinking I came up with all 5 things. Then Dad would help me discover how I could improve those 2 things. This is similar to techniques used in an efficient companion inventory (when you sit with your companion and discuss what is going well and what could be better). Also, when we read the scriptures as a family at night, Mom and Dad would ask questions that made us think and helped us pay attention and get valuable learning out of the scriptures. There is a section in Preach My Gospel that is dedicated to this kind of questioning and upon applying it, I've learned well its efficiency. I remember that Mom and Dad do weekly planning with . I always thought it was funny when I asked Mom or Dad for something and they said they would help me after they finished planning with each other. It is a good thing they planned out the week because there were so many sports and music activities that had to be remembered and attended. As missionaries we have to plan out every week in detail for it to go smoothly and to have success. It has been really neat to reflect on how I have been blessed in our family because of the things that Mom and Dad do that are so directly related to what Dad probably learned on his mission. My perspective has been improved on many things within the last year or so. 

Thanks for the emails! Have a good week!
Elder Young

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Elder Young in Brazil!!!

Elder Young with ward members that own the farm

New Pictures from Elder Young !!!!

Rosa's Granddaughters
Rosa's Granddaughter
Brazil Farm
Brazilian Tractor

Brazilian Farm
A farm Elder Young visited

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wonderful Mothers Day Skype with Elder Young

It was great to see your blurry faces yesterday through the mysterious way of strange miracle magic that is the inter web. It's a happy problem that everyone can't fit in the video frame. Thanks for the songs and the good questions. Next time I'll try to have some questions for you guys. 

The family that you all saw yesterday helps a lot with missionary work. Maria LĂșcia (the mom) suggested that we fast for Rosa last week. She called us one morning and said she had thought a lot about Rosa the night before. At the end of the day we left someone's house and headed toward our next appointment when we both stopped and had the thought that even though we had someone planned for 7, we should visit Rosa. She was very thankful that we had come when we did. She had a lot of doubts and needed to talk to us. She is more than half way through the Book of Mormon and is loving it. Many things keep coming up to stop her from going to church, but she's still progressing. 

Every week we are finding new people to teach but none of them are progressing. But I know that as we continue to work hard we'll be doing our part.

I like the idea that Brandyn presented about the ugly tie game. I'm going to talk to the Elders Quorum about the idea. I think they'll like it a lot.

I sent a few pictures.
I don't know why you would want a picture of a farm, but I went to a farm to eat at a member's house and took pictures because you all like pictures. The others are of Rosa's grandchildren. They are very photogenic and like me to take pictures of them. They're a lot of fun.

Have a wistful week,
Elder Young

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cinco de Mayo

(Bryce didn't have much time to write this week, but this is what he sent in answering a letter from us)

I'm pretty sure there is a mission in between Brasilia and Teresina. It would be really cool if you flew down to get me after my mission. And of course even better if we could see Brandyn.

Speaking of Indian tribes, I met a missionary here that is friends with a chief of an Indian tribe. He told me some cool stories. He also told me about neat spiritual experiences. In Brazil there are many people from the tribe of Manasseh's. I have observed that many people here receive answers to prayers through dreams. It has made me wonder about the characteristics of the Manasseh's tribe. (their spiritual sensibility)

Thank you for taking the time to write that experience. I have learned that experiences like the one you described are the medium through which we can learn all things, including the mysteries of God. It also affirms that experiences of a like nature which I have had in the past (and unfortunately haven't recorded) are real revelations. I have a notebook of a bunch of gospel "musings" and one of them is "how did we get to know our heavenly parents so well? What kinds of experiences did we have with them? Was our progress of a similar nature to our progress on earth?" I love knowing that after we die and see God again, we will be astounded at how well we actually know him. (I forgot who said that) 

It's a big blessing to get glimpses of what eternal joy is like and it makes me want to do everything possible to go to the celestial kingdom. 

This Sunday in Elders Quorum, the president (Paulo), with whom I've made a great relationship, told the quorum that Saturday night as he was about to sleep, he had a very strong impression that he needed to write a few things down. He brought what he wrote to elders quorum on Sunday. He requested a report of the home teaching done in the month of April. Almost no one had done any visits (one of the problems in the ward). He spoke with the spirit in reminding the quorum of their duty in God's work. I have never seen a righteous reprimand so powerful ( I thought about Alma and Samuel the Lamanite, and Abinadi) before. I could feel the spirit very strongly listening to his words. I knew that he had received revelation for the quorum and that God was speaking through him in telling the quorum that they need to get to work. Paulo is a big example to me. He stands up for what should be done when no one else does. He's one of the reasons that the ward is continuing to exist. 

Recently I've been learning how integrated the spirit is in every little thing. And as I notice how active the spirit is in the small things, he helps me to make a difference in small little things. (such as greeting someone on Sunday that needs to be greeted or writing down something that I don't even know what I'll use it for until much later) 

Much Love,
Elder Young

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bryce is sooo excited that Brandyn will also be serving in Brazil!!

First off, BRANDYN SERIOUSLY?!?! BRAZILLLLLLLLL?! I'm over excited. I don't know if I'll be able to think about anything else this week. I almost didn't believe it until I saw the video that Ben sent me. (Thanks Ben). I loved watching the video and I can't wait for Brandyn to come visit. This is crazy.
Unfortunately, Rosa got sick this weekend and could hardly get out of bed Sunday morning. The baptism will be next week. She was in a lot of pain and asked for a priesthood blessing that afternoon. About 30 minutes after we gave her a blessing and left she called to tell us that all the pain went away and that she was feeling a lot better. I'm very excited for her. She is also very excited and wants everyone to meet the missionaries, haha. She is super funny. Her daughters have heard parts of our conversations over the past weeks and are developing an interest.

Adriano, a less active that we found on an old list of members, came to church on Sunday. We had passed by his house to visit him on Thursday and he mentioned that this week he felt like he should start reading the scriptures again. We're planning on visiting him with a member this week.
We have been inviting virtually everyone we talk to to various "family nights" at members' houses. This week there will be many church activities and we're hoping this will give the ward a jumpstart because things are moving kind of slowly. I'm very thankful for the strong families who act as pillars in this ward. We can always count on them to help us.
Things are picking up, and I'm looking forward to the prospect of the next few weeks. I'll be here for at least another 6 weeks with E. Lima, and for that I am thankful.
I feel like I should mention a short thought/connection I found while studying this week. It is about Alma 32 and 1 Nephi 8 from the Book of Mormon. I was reading Alma 32 and one led word to another, which led to different chapter, which led to a big stream of ideas that I tried to write down.

When considered together, Alma's discourse on faith (Alma 32), and Lehi's vision of the tree of life (1 Nephi 8) shed more light on the subject of faith and of enduring to the end. Alma compares the rewards of faith to a tree's fruit. The "experiment of faith" to which Alma refers can conveniently be likened to the sraight and narrow path that leads to the tree of life that Lehi saw.
Alma invited the poor and humbled Zoramites to "awake and arouse [their] faculties, even to an experiment upon [his] words and exercise a particle of faith." In Lehi's vision, an angel invited Lehi to follow him (an exercise of faith). He then describes his experience that followed an exercise of his faith (verses 7-12). Notice that it wasn't easy, and that he first had to travel in darkness.
Evident from the joy with which Lehi describes the fruit of the tree of life and with which Alma describes the fruit of faith, the fruits they describe are of similar nature. We can see from the account of Lehi that he got to taste the fruit because he exercised his faith first. Alma emphasizes this very exercise of faith. By holding to the iron rod which accompanies the straight and narrow path, we are, simultaneously trying the experiment that Alma counsels us to try.
The fruitful comparison goes even a little further:
The poor and humbled Zoramites were despised of all men because of their poverty and coarseness of their apparel. They were cast out of the synagogues which they had labored abundantly to build with their own hands. "They were esteemed as filthiness."
They can be likened to those who partook of the fruit in Lehi's vision and were mocked by the people "both old and young, both male and female" whose dress was "exceedingly fine."
These two groups of people represent those who are willng to humble themselves, willing to try an experiment upon the words of the prophets. If they do so, they will partake of the fruit that fills the soul with exceedingly great joy, that is desirable above all other fruit (1 Nephi 8:12) which is "most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all which is white, yea, and pure above all which is pure." If they do so they "shall feast upon this fruit" even until being filled. (Alma 32:42)
If you follow the example of the poor and humbled Zoramites and of Sariah, Sam, and Nephi in seeking after the fruit of the tree of life, "Then my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and longsuffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you" (Alma 32:43)
There will always be those who mock and point their fingers at those who partake of the fruit. In Lehi's vision there were some who partook of the fruit and then fell away because they were ashamed. (1 Nephi 8:24-28)

We can choose whether we will continue in our experiment of faith by enduring to the end, or if we will be ashamed and wander off and lose ourselves in "strange roads" (verse 32). For those who endure to the end, Alma and Lehi promise the fruit of the tree of life, or eternal life. In Christ's words to the Nephites he promised eternal life to those who look unto him and endure to the end. (3 Nephi 15:9)

I really enjoy how the stories in the Book of Mormon compliment so well the speeches given by the prophets. Examining them together generates a lot of instructive connections.
I still feel like I'm free-falling because of the news that Brandyn will come to Brazil in September. It seems so far away, but it will come quicker than fox's grab (his R move) on super smash bro's.
Thanks for the many pictures. And thanks for the Easter package! 
A delightful week to all!

Elder Young