Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

To celebrate, I made banana pancakes and ate them with maple syrup. It was a fantastic surprise to my eager mouth. I felt like how I felt is parallel with the feeling of the song "Wonder" by Mack Wilberg. 

I feel like I don't deserve to be in this wonderful place. Every day feels creative and I don't feel the humdrum I have sometimes felt in the past. We found many new people to teach and we found them in a natural way--we didn't feel like we were running behind a search. 

On Wednesday we were walking down a street and decided to knock on (clap our hands in front of the gate) someone's door. They didn't come out so we kept on going. A kid called us back and said that someone came out to answer us. He said that they came from the neighbor's house, so we decided to go ahead and knock on the neighbor's door too. A lady came out and said she was busy but would accept a visit later in the week. When we came back we started talking and asked if anyone else at home would like to hear from us. She said that her daughter would love to. Her daughter had many great questions that led the lesson to the points we wanted to get across. She is reading the Book of Mormon to find answers to her questions.

Another day we were walking by a house and a little kid playing with a light up bouncy ball said something like "goohoshgoshh" that I didn't understand and then said Tchau after he showed us his toys. We were in a hurry so we kept going but we came back two days latter. We talked to his mom and she invited us in. We made the center point about the eternal nature of families and taught her the restoration, inviting her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. I was surprised at the receptiveness we encountered this week. I believe that our initial mention of families was key in receiving such receptiveness. 

The members are referring us to many of their friends and family members. One of the people we started to teach, João Victor (10yrs), is planning to get baptized this Sunday. I'm excited to re-visit the others to see their progress. 

To answer a few questions that were made in emails to me. 
My companion is 19 and he served in Alabama for a little while and just got to Brazil. I got a call just now that Elder B. Gomez picked up a box for me that has my suit in it. Thanks for the other family news! I'm jealous about Brandyn getting to see Gladys Knight. Send me some pictures of Halloween happenings! I attached a delicious meal that irmã Iza made for us. 

Picture of the nice meal Irma made for us!
Me and Irma making Pizzas for family Night
A breakfast Bryce made for himself!  He has become quite a cook!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Elder Young in Santa Maria

I'm doing great. I'm blown away by how willing the members here are to help. I've never been through an area like Santa Maria. It's already my favorite area. (And it's a lot cooler )My companion is Elder Magana. He is from Chicago and from a Mexican family. He knows Spanish and that helps him a lot with Portuguese. He served 6 weeks in Alabama and got to brazil this week. I arrived with him in Santa Maria, so we didn't know anything at the beginning of the week about the area. It's funny that with the exception of Porto Nacional, I arrived in all my areas together with my companions not knowing anything about the area, investigators, or where members lived. It's a healthy trial and Im very excited to work closely with the members here. We spent this week getting to know them and gaining their trust.

On Saturday, Berivelton got married to his now wife, Rosimeire, and he got baptized yesterday. A few months ago a family got baptized. We visited them the first day we got here. I love them. Idamar, Aldeilde, Ruan, Renan, and João. They are so very eager to learn. I'll take a picture soon to show you all. 

Yesterday we were walking down the street with Pedro, our ward mission leader. We were on our way to meet the secretary, Delson. On the way, a lady that looked like she was from the proud family waved at us saying hello. We went over to meet her. She and her family are members from Recanto. They were visiting their family that lives in our area. We met their family and marked a day to come back and teach them. 

Delson showed us a cool board game he found while on vacation. It's called "O Jogo do Livro de Mormon" The Game of the Book of Mormon, or the Book of Mormon Game. It's ideal for family night. Maybe you guys can find it online somewhere. 

As I left the mission office last week I offered mike and ikes to the guy that sits at the door. He loved them and I told him I would send him some. Could you send him some for me? Put the same address as always like you're sending something to me, but put this in the place of my name: Antonio Pereira da Silva - Térrio

There are a lot of things that happened that I wish I had time to write about. Santa Maria is a lot different from the other places I've been and I like it a lot. Everyone helps so much!

Until next week,
Elder Young

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Elder Young has been transferred to Santa Maria (By Brasilia)

I found out Saturday that I'm being transferred to Brasilia. I leave today at 4 to go to Palmas. I will leave Palmas at 7 and arrive in Brasilia about 7am and then go straight to my new area. It's very difficult to leave this place. I love the people I met and it's so hard to say goodbye. It's interesting that even though this area brought with it a great number of personal challenges, it is one of the hardest to leave. I realized today that the next area I go to could be my penultimate. It's unthinkable. 

Thankfully, I was able to download all the sessions of General Conference. I re-listened to them all on my phone while ironing my shirts, brushing my teeth, making breakfast, and taking a shower. I realized as a result, how much time each of these tasks require as a whole, and how each second adds to make a day, something a spider spinning web probably understands well. Does there exist a better time to have this great mini epiphany than listening to talks that describe this very concept? Every time I re-listen to conference I gain more appreciation for the specificity and pointedness of each orator. They aren't redundant and they don't waste words. Their preparation is prayerfully intent, making all their main points palpable for listeners of every age. I probably sound like a fanatic, but I just love conference. 

I don't have much news this week. We continue to find new people every day and teach them, but they aren't progressing. Vanessa still hasn't decided to get baptized, but I know she will in the future. 

I just found out that I'm going to Santa Maria. I don't know who my companion is yet, though. There are two areas there, South and North. My companion Elder Santos has already served in the north and Elder Reese has already served in the south. So either way, one of them will be happy and be able to give me tips. 

I love hearing from you and seeing pictures. Thanks for your prayers.

Answer to a question dad asked:

I watched the first in Portuguese because I didn't know the americans were watching it in English in another room. Someone told me and I went to watch the rest with them. I know the language well enough to communicate everything I need to in missionary life. I hope to expand my vocabulary to discuss various subjects. They smile when I say some words because the accent is more discernible, but many ask if I'm Brazilian. 

Elder Young
This is the Braga family.  I love this family!  They made me feel so at home.
Ludimila, Jura, Amon, Presidente Braga, Elissa, Rebeca,Bryce, and Yuri

Monday, October 7, 2013

Only six more months until General Conference!

Saturday and Sunday were extremely quick. I want to watch more conference. I really enjoyed the arrangement of O Divine Redeemer the choir sang Sunday morning. 

Before Dad tells me his favorite talk, I want to guess that he really liked S Gifford Nielson's talk about the shoes and about making a game plan. Elder Nielson has such a great announcer voice..."exclamation point!" I'm glad I got to watch that part in English. I'm also glad I can use his talk to help the members share the gospel.

Vanessa was able to watch the Saturday sessions of conference. Without any question from us, she told us that she really enjoyed it, and felt that many talks were just for her. As I'm sure all missionaries did with their investigators, when President Uchtdorf said "Come, and join us"(or something similar -- I didn't hear it in English) I looked over at her from the corner of my eye to see her expression. I enjoyed seeing her doubts resolved by the talks in conference. 

I was reading Drake's email that you guys forwarded to me and read that he and his companion set up a table of pamphlets and Books of Mormon and such. We tried the same thing here. In the 4 hours that we sat on the plaza in Porto in two days, we talked to one person who was interested. One interested person is better than 50 uninterested people, right? It was worth it. We're going to visit her and her family this week. 

Last week our 7pm appointment with Eloisa was moved to 530 because she had something to do at her church. Right after we changed the time, a member called us invited us to a family night at 7pm with a non-member family. In total, there were 10 people there. We ended up teaching the Restoration as the message to the whole family plus 5 members that came with us. It all came out of no where and was organized last minute, but it brought great results. We planned to visit the family again next week. This member's decision to share the gospel with her friend at work influenced at least 9 people. It is soooo much better to teach with members than it is to knock on doors.

This week may be my last in Porto--we'll see next Monday. Have a joyous week!

Elder Young

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pictures of one of Bryce's favorite families

Eloisa, Edipho, Ana Maria, Elder Santos, and Elder Young

Elder Santos

Happy Birthday Brooks and Braxton!

I am jealous that Brooks and Braxton saw Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. I remember watching that movie while at the dentist (watching the tv that's in the ceiling). What a happy experience (perhaps due to the nitrous oxide within me at the time). It's incredible that the twins are already 9 years old. I won't even be able to pick them up and toss them onto my bed anymore.
Every week seems to be more strenuous. We're finding a lot of people, even by inefficient means, like knocking on people doors, but almost none of them are progressing. Our three principal investigators, Luziene, Eloisa, and Vanessa are progressing in their own ways. Luziene is beyond prepared, but her husband still doesn't want to get married.

Eloisa is such a wonderful person. She's like that kind grandmother you see in the movies, but she's 34. She loves to talk and takes such a great interest in our lives. She is attentive and understands what we're conveying to her. It's great to see her daughter, Ana Maria, reading the Book of Mormon with us as well. Yesterday we all sat down and read Alma 32 together. We then discussed how what we read could be applied in Eloisa's life. We gave them the 1hr movie of the restoration (she loves movies) and invited her again to continue reading the Book of Mormon and pray about it. They think American lifestyle is just great and they're all excited about making American pancakes with us this Thursday. They always ask me if I've tried this or that (different kinds of food) and laugh when I tell them that I have and loved it. I'll attach a picture of them. If I leave next transfer, they'll be the hardest bunch of people to leave.
Vanessa has known the missionaries for a long time, but is really progressing now. She has become great friends with one of the girls in the branch. It's so great to see them becoming friends. In our recent lessons, we've focused a lot about choosing real friends that will be a good influence for you. She mentioned that Nahiman (this girl in the branch) is probably the only "real" friend she has. Vanessa said that she wants to wait until after conference to get baptized. We're praying that she'll feel that her prayers and questions are answered during conference. I really hope I can be here when she's baptized.
I feel like each passing day is a perfect example of "opposition in all things" and in all ways possible. Apparent progression often meets a sudden end but frustrations are often met by unexpected joys. I feel like I'm living in a box of Neapolitan ice cream. When I go for chocolate, I get strawberry. When I finally decide that strawberry will do, I find that a little chocolate is left. Haha.
Attached are two pictures. One of my companion, Elder Santos, and the other, Eloisa and part of her family.
Enjoy conference!

I forgot to include an experience we had this week. On Thursday all our appointments fell and we set out to find new people. I remembered, as we passed by the city hall, that one of our ideas for finding new people was to go to the city hall to see if there was any volunteer service we could provide. We asked around and were informed that to find what we were looking for, we needed to walk another 20 minutes to another building. We decided to go. As we were on our way, someone was leaving their house and saw us and called to us, "Elders! Elders!" I didn't recognize her so we went to talk to her. We discovered that she is a less active member who hasn't been visited in awhile. We marked to come back. Afterward, we continued walking until the building. They were having a meeting and asked us to come back another time. On Saturday we went back to her house and got to know her. She basically told us her life story. In response to one of our comments or questions, she shared a story about one of her trips to the temple. She started to cry remembering how her experience had built her testimony of family history work in the temple. Our conversation was very enlightening for all of us. She told us about her friend that we are now going to visit as well. Being out and about doing what you should be brings results, even though they seem insignificant.

Elder Young