Monday, July 22, 2013

Elder Young teaching in Brazil

Akira(little girl), Gabriel(boy), Adriana(Akira's mom), Fransisco(caretaker of Fabricio)


Summer In Brazil

Dear family,

I'm glad you liked the pictures and I am happy with myself for remembering to take more this week. I KNEW you would all do a drum roll at the table at the part in my letter about the double decker bus, haha. That made me laugh.

The biggest difficulty I feel about working here is making sure the visitors at church have a pleasant first impression and a friend to help them along in the meetings. We can do our best in presenting gospel information in our weekly visits to them, but on Sunday we have to put our faith in the classes they will attend and in the talks they will hear.

Church yesterday went well.
Fabríco and Livia were confirmed. One of our investigators, Vanessa, loved watching them being confirmed and couldn't explain the strong feeling she had in that occasion. Her experience afforded us the moment to reflect on the influence of the Holy Ghost in conversion with her. She is being rewarded for her continual reading of the Book of Mormon and for her diligence in coming to church. 

Fabrício lives close to another family who comes to church when they have the means to. Adriana, Akira's mom, (see picture) is reading the Book of Mormon and watching the videos of the restoration with her daughter. She comes to church when her "husband" (people call their boyfriends and girlfriends spouses here sometimes) is able to take them . They live very far away and can't get to church without a car. I enjoy being with them and teaching them. The environment is always very healthy for a real learning process to occur. Akira always has super good questions, too. 

Thanks for your prayers, considerations, news, and comments. They are all greatly appreciated. 

Elder Young

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The trip to Brasilia

Elder Young and Elder Reese on a bus ride to Brasilia 

Bryce in the center of Brasilia

Bryce in Brasilia

Elder Stacey, Elder Reese, Elder de Jesus, Elder D. Call, and Elder Young

Picture of zone in Palmas, Tocantins. Reuniao da zona

Trip to Brasilia to renew visas!

Enjoyed the trip to Brasilia

Welcome to my letter,

Tuesday night I rode on a bus to Brasilia. Elder Reese and a few other missionaries from my MTC group came along too. We renewed our visas in the Brasilia airport. I got to meet "THE WHITE DRAGON". What a privilege. The white dragon is one of the people who works at the visa place. She never smiles and only says things once. She's really white and appears so fed up with things to the point that she will probably set you on fire if she breathes close to you. The mission secretaries named her the white dragon. I smiled so wide when she called my name and took my fingerprints, but her mouth didn't arrange a smile. Anyway, I enjoyed the time (5 HOURS) we waited in the airport because I got to talk with other missionaries (which you don't actually have a lot of time to do on the mission) and talk to people from my MTC group. We stayed the night in Cruzeiro, where Elder D. Call is working (he's from ARKANSAS!). Elder Reese and I had some time to go on splits and work in his area a little bit. We knocked on doors and did contacts. It was funny because the rich people there act like they're not home or give really funny excuses. Sometimes they even combine all their possible excuses to not answer the door into one sentence. One lady didn't want to come to the gate. We asked for a cup of water and she came out. As we talked to her a little bit, she put her arms out to her side, blocking her kids from coming closer to the gate, as if we were angry barking dogs on the other side. I don't know what it is, but people were scared of us there. We finally found someone who came to the door to talk to us and we ended up talking to him for some good time. He explained his beliefs and told us why he doesn't agree with our doctrines. I was glad I was with Elder Reese because we have the same way of talking and teaching people. We got to be really good friends with him, laughing and discussing religion. After hearing that Nephi built a boat, he said "this book (the book of Mormon) should be made into a movie!" I said "I know it should! Will you help us make it?!" He was commenting from the side of "wow, this book is ridiculous, how could anyone believe in it?" but it didn't really bother me. We made a good conversation out of it and became good friends. You have to learn how to laugh with people and to not take things so serious all the time like some people do. It was interesting to watch our conversation with him unfold. I could pinpoint pivotal moments in the conversation--moments in which we could either take offense and argue, or we could smile and explain our point of view in a light invitational way. I was happy that we had a chance to bare our testimony of the Book of Mormon. Even though he disagreed on many points, the conversation we had was enlightening and positive for both of us. I'm glad that we had time to work in Cruzeiro before going to bed and I'm glad that we made use of that time and found an excellent person.

We took a double-decker bus on the way home. You guys are probably wondering whether I sat on the top or not. Drum roll please....I did. Oh it was cool. I wish I would have taken a picture because I know you guys probably think it's super cool that I rode a double-decker bus, but I forgot to take a picture. Maybe I'll ride another one in the future. 

I lost my planner in which I wrote a few things to tell you all, sorry about that. This week was great, though. Fabrício got baptized by his great uncle. We're starting to teach his family now, which is exciting. 

Thanks for the pictures Brooks and Braxton! And thanks for scanning them in, Dad. 

Enjoy the little things:

Here, the penny doesn't exist. There is no such thing as a coin that represents one cent. The smallest amount represented by a coin here in Brazil is 5 cents. So when the cashier owes you in between 1 and 5 cents in change, he gives you a little piece of candy. I enjoyed this little fact last week as I received a piece of candy in exchange for 3 cents. I decided that the next time I want to buy something and don't have enough money, I'm going to give the cashier a few pieces of candy and walk out the exit.

Elder Young

Friday, July 12, 2013

Don't be sad, jump for joy  (Rough translation)

Bryce in Palmas, Tocantins

Good morning all,

Today we're sending email from Palmas, Tocantins. We're at a zone activity here. I don't understand why so many people want to play soccer in this heat, on the one day that we have to rest a little. I have spent the morning so far writing letters and playing piano in the air conditioned chapel. It's supposed to get even hotter than it is now in August and September. I hope I go to a different place before that awful heat comes, but maybe this heat is good for me somehow. 

We still haven't found Marcelo at home this week. I think he went on vacation or something. I really want to talk to him again. We're needing new and more people to teach.

We had to do a lot of traveling today so I didn't have much time to send emails.
Elder Reese and I get to work together today and Wednesday. I'm excited for that. Tomorrow we leave for Brasilia to renew our visas. We come back Thursday.

Have a splendid semana. Thanks for your prayers and fasts.

Elder Young

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pictures from Porto Nacional

Elder Young and Elder Nascimento

Elder Young and Elder Nascimento with some Youth in Porto Nacional

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I could fry bacon and eggs on the asphalt here if I wanted to. It's so hot!

I'm jealous you all got to go to Branson. I always think about the water parks there when I pass a street here that has a little water park with a huge plastic frog in the middle you can climb through. I hope you all enjoyed it and withstood the heat.

Something I think you all would find funny: During church when I'm playing piano, every Sunday the same little 3 year old kid comes up to the piano and starts playing the high keys next to me while. I never have the chance to look up and see who this little kid belongs to, but it always takes 30 seconds for his owner to realize that he has run away and has come to realize his dream of being a piano rock star. It makes me laugh because I remember how many times this happened when I practiced piano at home. Out of all the hours of the day that Brooks and Braxton could play piano, they always chose the few hours that I was practicing to come bang their fists on the top end of the piano. They always managed to play every single tone that wasn't in the key of the song I was playing. I'm glad I learned how to tune out baby fists on the piano so that I could continue playing amid big distractions at church. 

This week Lívia got baptized by her to-be husband, Saulo. 
We took 2 youngins with us to visit an 18yr old, Vanessa, who's visiting church. She has been taught all the lessons and knows the Book of Mormon is true. One thing she didn't have yet was a friend in the church. She made friends with one of the people we took with us to visit her. I hope that as they share thoughts and experiences, Vanessa can let go of the fear she has about baptism. 

Last week we received a referral in the form of a text message from That's never happened before, so we were a little suspicious. Even so, we looked for the address of this Eurivaldo for quite some time. It got dark and we could see the numbers on the houses so we took a few shots in the dark. We knocked on one guys door who let us in without asking us anything. After letting us in, he said "What can I help you with?" We explained the predicament and starting to bater-papo (chat). We got talking about his family and it fluidly led to an opportunity to talk about the restoration. We briefly discussed the restoration and planned to visit him again this week. After we left we thought about continuing our search for this Eurivaldo, but I said I think we found the person we were actually looking for. Later we discovered that Eurivaldo doesn't actually live in the address we were sent in the text message. So, thankyou for whoever sent the message because you led us to find Marcelo, a new investigator.

Elder Young