Monday, August 26, 2013

Elder Nascimento's penultimate week serving with Elder Young

This was probably Elder Nascimento's penultimate week here, and we spent it as such. We increased our focus on encouraging the members to bring friends to church and activities. As what seems like a result of this effort, two members brought their friends to church, and two follow-up visits were marked yesterday. I hope that member missionary work can continue to gain momentum in the next few weeks.

This timely spark of member missionary work will contribute to the progress of a new person, Romilda, who we met this week. Romilda is a referral of a teenage member, Beatriz, in Palmas, the stake's center. We were in Palmas for an interview and she excitedly greeted us, telling us that her aunt, Romilda, lives in Porto Nacional and that she would like us to visit her. She told us that Romilda's husband (a less-active member of the church) passed away recently and that Romilda had dreams of him telling her to go to church. She is prayerfully hoping that her aunt will accept the invitation to go to church and learn about the plan of salvation. Yesterday we found Romilda at home and got to know her. We ended up teaching her the plan of salvation. Her questions led us to teach the whole plan. She thanked us for the visit and we planned to visit her again on Thursday. I hope that she considers the eternal significance of her choices in this life as we teach her the principles of faith, repentance, and baptism. I am eager to involve the members in the lessons with Romilda to strengthen their comprehension of the plan of salvation as well as their commitment to share their testimonies.

Have a great week!
- Elder Young

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Elder Young's District

Lehi's Dream in Vanessa's back yard


Sorry I forgot to send my last email. At least this week you get two. I wish I could have been there to hear you all sing/to sing with you. I'm sure it was great. I hope everyone had a good day back at school, even though you probably didn't sleep very much. We've all secretly wanted to go back to school before after a few weeks of summer. 

Last week I wanted to have time to talk about a lesson we had with an investigator named Vanessa. We've been teaching her for quite some time. She's 18 and has had the lessons taught to her by many different missionaries. She has prayed about the Book of Mormon and has told us that she knows it is true. She continues to go to church but still has something holding her back from becoming a member. She says she doesn't know why but feels like something is holding her back. Last week we had a great lesson with her about the plan of salvation. We were reading Lehi's dream in 1st Nephi. She asked about the significance of all the elements in his dream, like the iron rod and the building on the side. We read Nephi's interpretation and took advantage of her backyard to illustrate the principles of the dream and to cliken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our dprofit and learning. (1 Nephi 19:23)

She had a few trees in her backyard and a plastic hose just chillin on the ground. We presented the tree as the tree of life and the hose as the iron rod. It was a bit silly, but she really got thinking as we used this example. It was thrilling as she asked questions, just like Nephi does in chapter 11, that lead in perfectly to the next explanation given. She asked about the people that ate the fruit and then fell away because they were ashamed. We likened her house to the big and spacious building, with material treasures and things of the world. She understood the analogy well. We asked, after explaining everything, where she would be in this analogy. She replied that she feels like she's on the edge, looking toward the building that represents the world. It seemed like she answered her own questions while thinking about this analogy. It was a pivotal lesson, and it has made her think more and more about what decision she wants to make with the knowledge she now has at hand. She went to church again this Sunday and liked it. The hard part is getting her "fellow shipped" with the members.

This experience made me think a lot about how Jesus taught. The book Jesus the Christ taught me that in more than one occasion, He used his immediate physical surroundings as the theme our background for his parables. In the parable of the sower, the path and field that He mentions could be found behind where He was teaching. The subject of His parables almost always pertained to the work His listeners found themselves in each day. When you teach in this form, the student cannot help but reflect on what you teach as they go about their day, because the setting for your teachings is where they live! Now I know that every time Vanessa looks at her backyard, or at that tree, she will remember 1 Nephi 8, and she will remember what she learned when we talked about that tree. 

I don't know if she'll decide to get baptized soon or not, but I'm glad to be a part of her learning process. She has already used phrases such as "When I get baptized" or, "After I get baptized." I hope it's soon!

This week we found a bunch of new people, but very few of them are progressing. The members are starting to give a few more references than normal, so I hope we can do divisions with them and get them more involved in the work. It's crucial that they are involved and that they invite instead of us. Adriana, Akira, and Fabricio are hard to contact because someone in their family died. We can't visit them for awhile because where they live is very dangerous. 

Sorry for the recent lack of pictures. It's just that not a lot is new. Tell me what you want pictures of.

Have a singular week,
Elder Young

Quick letter from last week -
Today I have to be really quick; sorry I can't respond to all your emails. We had a zone activity today and have very little time to send emails. This week went very well. We found a lot of new people to teach. It's refreshing to change our routine a little bit. We're staying in Palmas for the night and we get to do divisions with Elder Stacey and Elder Silvera.

I love you all!

 - Elder Young

(I wrote this all last week and I had to leave quickly, so I forgot to send the email) 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Witnessing the Lords Work

Lately I have been describing my weeks to myself in terms of general experiences that have the length of a week. This helps me to remember what happened during the week and also what would be of most avail to those who read my newsletter.  People like stories, and nothing will replace the human desire to hear things in the form of stories, which is a hard fact to take in because I've never been too great at story telling. Thankfully, the events of this week seemed to knit themselves together into a story.

Our daily efforts this week were focused on finding less active members and finding new people to teach. We have a really old list of members. We consider the people on the list that we haven't met yet as less active, inactive, or relocated. So we began searching for the addresses we had close to our house. A great majority of the people on the list had already moved. As we were searching for Paulo, we passed a group of 4 people relaxing and soaking in the shade, a common Tocantins occurrence. We couldn't find his address so we made our way back. I didn't want to go down the road and back for no reason, and felt like we should ask those people if they knew Paulo. We introduced ourselves and got into good conversation without even asking about Paulo. They didn't know him, but we talked and planned to come back the next day. We came back and it turns out that none of them actually lived in that house, so we thought nothing of it and went to the next thing. One day we ate lunch with Maria Joana, a member that has been here for quite some time. Lunch went by quickly, so we determined to stay a little longer to get to know her and ask questions about the area and old members. We got talking and asked if she knew anyone we could visit. She mentioned many people, including her daughter, who hadn't gone to church in some time. She explained to us where she lived but it was very confusing. Elder Nascimento wrote down her name and directions as best as we could. After lunch we passed the house we previously passed looking for Paulo. We decided to stop again to see if one of them was there. A less active member, Cleane, answered the door (gate). She said that she didn't know the people we were looking for. She told us her name and Elder Nascimento looked at his planner, looked up to her, and then to me, then back at his planner, then back to her, asking her for her name. She said she was Maria Joana's daughter. We were really surprised that she lived there--we never expected to find her house. She invited us in. We got to know her and talked to her about a lot of things. She said that she has felt empty since she stopped going to church. She told us how she met the missionaries and about becoming a member. We read the scriptures with her and shared our testimonies with her. I talked about how the gospel has blessed my family and how it is crucial in the lives of her children. She thanked us for the visit and said she would go to church on Sunday.

Yesterday she came to church. When she sat down, I told Elder Nascimento that she came and pointed to her. We gave each other hidden high fives (it was much like Shawn and Gus when they get excited about something). She gave her testimony in testimony meeting and expressed how happy she was. Her daughter came along with her. Looking at them sitting together made me so happy. The testimony meeting was fantastic. After she gave her testimony she sat down with a smile on for the rest of the meeting.

I wish I could express how I felt seeing the week's events culminate into yesterday, many of which were extremely coincidental (we weren't even supposed to each lunch at Maria Joana's house that day. There was a mix-up in the lunch calendar) Yesterday's happenings made all the sun, long walks, vain visits, and challenges of this week worth it. 

Ether 12:6

And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that afaith is things which arebhoped for and cnot seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no dwitness until after the etrial of your faith.

The witness came duly after the trial of our faith. Not faith just in our own efforts, but faith in the guidance of the spirit, which led us, on two specific occasions to be able to help Cleane in some small way. I remember often the words of David A. Bednar in a MTC address. When asked how to recognize the spirit.

"Quit stewing about it. 
Quit Fussing. 
Quit worrying. 
Just be good boys and girls. 
Just be worthy. 
Sometime you will look back and see that you were in the right place at the right time. And you will recognize that you were prompted and directed."

As we do what we know we should do, as we are in the right place at the right time, our steps will be guided. 

Moroni 7:16
 16 For behold, the aSpirit of Christ is given to every bman, that he may cknow good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

Every thing which inviteth to do good is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ. I've learned that I don't need to double think thoughts that invite me to do good. We don't need to be over preoccupied with whether or not what we're thinking is the influence of the spirit or not, just "be a good boy" and guidance will come.

Before I forget. Another less active came back to church yesterday because a friend of a friend shared something about the church on facebook. Continue to 

stand ascwitnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death (Mosiah 18)


and be ready always to give ban answer to every man that asketh you a reason of thechope that is in you with dmeekness and efear (1 Peter 3)

I've learned to:
Never think that your efforts are in vain, no matter how small they may be. And be ready to share what you believe and why you believe it.

Have a wonderful remainder of summer before the humdrum season of school.

Elder Young

(I've noted that the sun here is good for only 2 things so far: 1. Drying clothes quickly, 2. Drying bananas for a nice treat)

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Elder Young husking corn

A worm in the corn!!!

Wow! Look at that Iguana!

A ward party in Brazil

This week we walked and walked and walked !

I hope you all had/are having(?) a good family reunion.

This week we walked and walked and walked. Fabrício lives pretty far away so when we visit him it takes a good chunk of time out of the day, but it's worth it. I don't know where the time went. Normally I have more stuff written down to pass on to you, but I have nothing. We continue visiting our progressing investigators, but none of them went to church yesterday. There were just a few people at church because many people are traveling. 

This week we're going to make our focus on finding new people, because many of out investigators aren't progressing. Akira and Adriana went on vacation. And we found out that Adriana's husband isn't too fond of the church, and he isn't home very often. He said that Akira can get baptized but we want the whole family to be able to be members, and to make sure her family is as dedicated as she is first. René, the member that has helped us so much with them, went on vacation too. I'm grateful for knowing that our work isn't in vain. To know that later on, people will probably have a second or third contact with the church, is a constant comfort.

I continue to be amazed at how fast my clothes dry, and the best heat is yet to come.

Next week I'll have more news! 
Elder Young